December 13-15, 2019

MedTech Impact 2019

Venetian/Palazzo Resort

Las Vegas, NV

(561) 893-8633

info@medtechimpact.com

News & Insights

MEDTECH IMPACT MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Tampa General Hospital Launches Telehealth Diagnosing Stations

Tampa General Hospital Launches Telehealth Diagnosing Stations

 

Tampa General Hospital Launches Telehealth Diagnosing Stations

ampa General Hospital (TGH) based in Florida, have launched new telehealth diagnosing stations to help hospital staff receive diagnoses for mid-to-minor concerns. Hospital staff at TGH are now able to enter self-contained telemedicine stations located inside the hospital for virtual life-sized consultations with physicians and automated pharmaceutical services. After six years of development with digital health company OnMed, the technology allows for video consultations with healthcare providers and features “built-in automated prescription drug dispensary, thermal imaging, ultraviolet sanitization and facial recognition to operate as self-contained, unstaffed exam rooms.” In a statement, Adam Smith, senior vice president of ambulatory services for TGH shared: “Right now, we are committed to prioritizing the wellness of our own team members by providing them access to instant care, when they need it.” Austin White, founding partner and CEO of OnMed, added: “We believe telehealth is the future, but in order to see long-term success, it has to go beyond a phone call with a doctor. This is why we created OnMed—to combine the clinical expertise and diagnostic capabilities of an in-person visit with the convenience and efficiency of a remote visit.”

 

Cerner Expands Reach in Federal Health Market

Health IT giant, Cerner has recently announced an agreement to acquire IT consulting and engineering firm AbleVets as a wholly owned subsidiary. In a statement, Travis Dalton, president of Cerner Government Services shared: “AbleVets has been a trusted partner to Cerner and is providing critical support to our federal programs.Integrating the team into our business is a natural next step of our relationship. We expect AbleVets’ technical expertise and execution in solving complex problems will accelerate Cerner’s success in providing integrated, seamless care for veterans, service members and their families.” The acquisition follows Cerner’s estimated $16 billion contract with both the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Defense to launch new EHR platforms. AbleVets and Cerner are expected to complete the transaction within the fourth quarter.

 

1.5 Million Patients’ Data Exposed In September Reported Breaches

According to a report from the U.S. federal government, in the month of September alone, nearly 1.5 million had their personal health data exposed in healthcare breaches, more than doubling the number of reported breaches in August. While the number of data breaches overall decreased, the number of patients exposed have significantly increased with three of the reported breaches affecting more than 100,000 individuals each. The largest breach came from OB-GYN practice, Women’s Care Florida which reported a breach of 528,000 patients. The federal report observed that hacking and IT incidents accounted for 62% of reported data breaches, while the remaining breaches were caused by theft, unauthorized access, or unauthorized disclosure of patient records.

 

Google hires Karen DeSalvo as First Chief Health Officer

Google recently announced the hire of former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and U.S. Assistant Secretary, Karen DeSalvo, for Health as their first-ever Chief Health Officer. Increasingly, Google’s parent company Alphabet is investing heavily in the health sector, with several recent high-profile hires signaling the tech giant’s plans to further expand into the industry. During her time as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, DeSalvo spearheaded a series of EHR certification programs geared towards interoperability advancements and patient access. In her new role, DeSalvo will help advise Google on doctors and nurses across the company’s “cloud unit and Alphabet’s life sciences arm Verily.”

 

 

Cerner Partners with Amazon on New Cognitive Health Platform

 

Cerner Partners with Amazon on New Cognitive Health Platform

Health software company, Cerner is partnering with Amazon Web Services to develop a new cloud-based health platform. The platform will utilize artificial intelligence to provide predictive insights for health care decision makers. According to a Cerner press release, the platform, named Project Apollo,will serve to bring a more cognitive approach to practicing medicine. During a company conference, the company’s Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer predicted that “Health care will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 30,” and further shared: “Cerner’s technology, and collaborative programs, along with the most respected providers, will lead a wave of disruptive innovation focused on making health care better.”

 

UnitedHealthcare Launches New On-Demand Telemedicine App

Major healthcare organization UnitedHealthcare has developed a new app that allows members to access virtual visits on-demand. The app will be available to over 27 million employer plan members 24/7 and will additionally allow users to track benefits and compare pricing. In a statement to Fierce Healthcare, Pat Keran–Vice President of Product Innovation for the company–shared the ultimate goal is to develop a “one-stop-shop” dashboard for patients that integrates wellness programs, claims data, and remote patient monitoring. “From a technical standpoint, we’re really modified and molded the back end to really help us modify and improve the application. […] We could really make this more of a comprehensive dashboard for members who want to engage with their healthcare all in one spot,” Keran shared.

 

Livongo Health Gains Federal Employee Contract

Livongo Health, a quickly growing digital health care company focused on diabetes care management, recently signed a contract to provide those covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program with connected health services. The company will provide digital health services for Blue Cross Blue Shield-based members diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In a press release, Livongo CEO Zane Burke shared: “This is Livongo’s largest agreement to provide diabetes services in our history and is another great example of the market’s excitement about our Applied Health Signals platform .” The company is is expected to serve around 25,000 included members in 2020 and 45,000 in 2021.

 

Omada Health Adds to $73 Million Funding Round

Emerging health tech start up Omada Health has added on to a $73 million funding round with a new “strategic investment” from Intermountain Ventures for an undisclosed amount. The digital chronic disease management company has products which help manage hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and mental health conditions, among other medical needs. In a statement to MobiHealthNews, CEO Sean Duffy shared: “We’ll leverage this investment to accelerate the expansion of the company’s integrated digital care program, as well as deepen our collaborations with Intermountain, aiming to bring patients the very best in digital care.” The additional funding round leaves Omada total funding for the year above $200 million.

 

 

 

Cerner Partners with Amazon on New Cognitive Health Platform
Technology in Cardiometabolic Health – Challenges and Solutions

Technology in Cardiometabolic Health – Challenges and Solutions

 

This partner blog is from The Cardiometabolic Health Congress (CMHC). In collaboration with MedTech, CMHC will host the Cardiometabolic Tech Summit on October 10th to analyze topics including big data and its role in cardiometabolic health, developments in genetic testing, medical devices, patient usage, and more. Read More

MedTech Insider: Microsoft Issues Urgent Windows Patch To Address Security Issues

MedTech Insider: Microsoft Issues Urgent Windows Patch To Address Security Issues

 

Microsoft Issues Urgent Windows Patch To Address Security Issues

Microsoft is calling on Windows users to install and “emergency” out of band security patch to address critical vulnerabilities in its softwareThe advisory warns of major security flaws in some versions of Internet Explorer which could allow an attacker to remotely take over an affected system. As the most vulnerable industry, health care organizations are being urged to act quickly in response to these developments. Numerous cybersecurity experts are calling on Healthcare CIOs and security officials to address any “out-of-band patch.” Clyde Hewitt, executive advisor of cybersecurity firm CynergisTek shared: “In this instance, it means an active exploitation has been found that impacts up to 7% of all browsers including versions of Internet Explorer 9, 10, and 11.” The U.S. Homeland Security has issued an advisory warning urging all affected users to install the patches as soon as possible to avoid ransomware attack.

 

Hava Health Prepares Vaporizer For Smoking Cessation

Tech startup Hava Health is developing an e-product to help users stop smoking. Following the surge in vaping lung cases in recent weeks, Hava Health is positioning itself as an alternative to help users quit nicotine addiction and ultimately vaping use. The startup has already raised a small seed round from prominent venture capital investor including Global Founders Capital, Make in LA, Backstage Capital, Quake Capital, Next Fab, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners.  Unlike other vaping products, the company explain that the tech is designed to not merely serve as an alternative to traditional cigarette, but as a means to quit smoking completely. Co-founder Josh Israel explains: “We started this because [co-found Devin Serago’s] grandmother died from lung cancer and his little brother expressed frustration that he couldn’t quit using the vaporizers and was smoking more than he would have if he had used a regular cigarette.” The company is in the process of applying for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be classified as a smoking cessation treatment. 

 

FDA Releases Revised Guidance On Digital Health Software

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released two guidance documents regarding the regulation of various kinds of digital health software. The first outlines categories of clinical decision support (CDS) products that would or would not require direct regulatory oversight from the agency. Notably, this guidance added a risk-based categorization approach for determining the enforcement over these tools. The second describes kinds of software products that will no longer fall within the agency’s definition of a medical device including software for health care facility administration, electronic paper records, and apps designed to encourage health and wellness-which the agency noted “pose a low risk to patients, but can provide great value to consumers and the healthcare system,” and thus “generally fall outside the scope of the FDA’s regulation.”

 

Amazon Launches Pilot Virtual Medical Service 

Amazon has announced the launch of a new virtual health clinic with in-home visits and follow ups. Currently, the virtual health service benefit is available to employees and their families within the Seattle region. Named Amazon Care, the pilot includes a combination of telemedicine and in-person services. Amongst numerous capabilities and options, employees will be able to text a nurse on any health topic, arrange for a nurse visit at home, and select prescription delivery from a care courier. Amazon officials have shared that the service will  be able to address “urgent issues like colds, allergies, infections, minor injuries, preventative health consults, vaccines, lab work, sexual health services like contraception and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and general health questions.” 

 

 

MedTech Insider: FDA Clears First AI X-Ray System

 

FDA Clears First AI X-Ray System

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has provided clearance to a new artificial intelligence-powered X-ray device developed by GE Healthcare in partnership with UC San Francisco. Named Critical Care Suite, the technology uses AI algorithms to scan X-ray images and detect pnuemothorax, or collapsed lung–a condition that affects about 74,000 within the United States each year. The suite provides for automated AI  quality check features which monitors acquisition errors and alerts technologists to make necessary corrections. “The health-care industry is producing huge amounts of data from images to digital health records,” GE Healthcare CEO Kieran Murphy said in an interview with CNBC, “We strongly believe that you have to turn that data into information and insight to improve outcomes.”

 

Microsoft, Google, & Amazon Compete To Store Health Data

Tech giants, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are engaged in a fast and growing competition to provide hospitals and health organizations with cloud software to store health data. In July, Providence St. Joseph Health announced a data storage agreement with Microsoft. Shortly after EHR company Cerner Corp, revealed a cloud storage agreement with Amazon Web Services–the companies cloud computing unit. Earlier this week Google announced a 10 year partnership with Mayo Clinic to store the hospitals medical, genetic and financial data. The announcements mark the accelerated move towards cloud storage within major healthcare systems, while highlighting the heightened need for deftly advanced data security.

 

Smartphone Urinalysis Startup Closes $60 Million Funding Round

Healthy.io, a smartphone urinalysis startup has completed a $60 million Series C funding round  led by Corner Ventures, Ansonia Holdings, Aleph and Samsung NEXT. Alongside the successful funding round, the company announced a second FDA 510 (k) clearance to support the diagnosis of chronic kidney diseases. The company’s primary product, Dip.io is a smartphone enabled testing kit with a disposable strip, testing cups, and colored panel. The diagnostic technology generates readings and directly provides users with their results. The new clearance covers an albumin-to-creatinine (ACR) test kit that can detect kidney impairment. Now, the diagnostic tool can be used at any pharmacy, urgent care center, or health clinic within the U.S. In a released statement, Yonatan Adiri, founder and CEO of Healthy.io shared: “The smartphone has the potential to be the great equalizer of healthcare. To unlock this potential, companies must adhere to the highest clinical standards. Our second FDA clearance and additional funding allows us to expand access to critical tests and care beyond our first 100,000 patients in Europe and Israel, making it a reality for millions of Americans suffering from diabetes and hypertension, who are at risk for chronic kidney disease.”

 

New Privacy Guidelines for Consumer Health Data

The Consumer Technology Association have developed a new set of guidelines for dealing with consumer health data. With members includings organizations such as Doctor on Demand and IMB among others, the association released the “Guiding Principles for the Privacy of Personal Health and Wellness Information”  to assist medical technology companies navigate the unique and complex obstacles in handling sensitive patient health data. While the guide provides useful advice on building and maintaining consumer confidence, security guidelines, and existing legal frameworks, the guideline also notes that, as by nature the industry is continually evolving, medical companies would do well to continually remained informed on the latest updates and trends: “Consumer preferences and their comfort with technology will evolve, and a company’s approach to communication should evolve, too. […] Stay informed about changes to and interpretation of privacy laws that apply to you. You can sign up for alerts and mailings from your applicable regulators, outside counsel, and industry groups.”

 

 

 

MedTech Insider: FDA Clears First AI X-Ray System
MedTech Insider: Mayo Clinic and Cerner Partner

MedTech Insider: Mayo Clinic and Cerner Partner

 

ONC Awards The Sequoia Project with  Responsibilities for TEFCA

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has awarded the Sequoia Project with a cooperative agreement to serve as the recognized coordinating entity (RCE) for the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). The Sequoia Project–a non-profit that advocate for nationwide health information exchange–will now be responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining the common agreement portion of TEFCA which will create the baseline for technical and legal requirements for health information networks to share electronic health information. In a released statement, Mariann Yeager, CEO of the Sequoia Project explained: “We have learned through our own operations that seamless nationwide sharing of health information is most readily enabled through trust agreements, consistent policy and technical requirements, and appropriate, balanced governance to provide assurance of trust and interoperability. We look forward to working alongside ONC as the Recognized Coordinating Entity.”

 

 

Goshen Health Implements Secure Text Messaging Between Patients and Providers

Clinicians at Goshen Health in Indiana have begun utilizing a secure messaging platform to connect patients and providers in real time through one-to-one and group chat text messages. Initially in search of a platform through which nurses and physicians could communicate, Goshen Health completed an extensive vetting process before selecting DrFirst Backline Communication. The application supports document attachments, photos, audio files, and video. In an interview with Healthcare IT News, Dr. David C. Koronkiewicz, of Goshen’s Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine shared: “Improving communication using secure messaging has been shown to improve efficiency and both physician and nursing satisfaction. Ultimately, our patients will benefit with more timely and effective communication.” Dr. David C. Koronkiewicz, Goshen Health Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. In a report completed following the implementation of the platform, patients around the perioperative period resulted in 83% of users being very or extremely satisfied with the ability to communicate directly with their surgeons.

 

 

Center for Medical Interoperability Releases New Verification Program

The Center for Medical Interoperability has released a new C4MI Verified program, designed with recommendations made the National Academy of Medicine and to be conducted “through partnerships with medical device vendors and its member health care organizations. The program will be combined with supporting specifications to improve and expedite the development of interoperable medical technology. In a public statement, Dean Harrison, chairman of the Centers Board, shared: “The program will enable healthcare organizations to have confidence that the solutions they purchase will be interoperable.Both buyers and suppliers of healthcare technology stand to benefit when the marketplace shifts to support products and solutions that better serve the needs of patients and providers.”.

 

 

Mayo Clinic, Cerner, and Oxford Partner In New London Clinic

Mayo Clinic, Oxford, and medical technology company Cerner have partnered together to open a new 27,000-square-foot clinic in London. Built in collaboration with Oxford University Clinic and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the clinic will be the first in Britain to provide pharmacogenomic testing that predicts how certain medications will be metabolized by a patient’s body. The clinic will utilize Cerner Millennium as its foundational electronic health record platform,  in order to provide coordinated care and aid providers in delivering proactive health management. Ben Hume, the health clinic’s manager expressed his thoughts in a public statement:”At Mayo Clinic Healthcare in partnership with Oxford University Clinic we are dedicated to providing the highest quality service to clients looking to take a proactive approach to their health. The management and security of all medical records was therefore a crucial consideration when we chose to adopt the Cerner Millennium technology.”

 

 

MedTech Insider: MIT Develops Robotic Thread Designed To Travel Through Brain’s Blood Vessels

 

MIT Develops Robotic Thread Designed To Travel Through Brain’s Blood Vessels

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a “magnetically steerable” robotic thread  that can “actively glide through narrow, winding pathways such as the labrynthine vasculature of the brain.” The engineers believe that the robotic thread will soon be capable of pairing with existing endovascular technologies, allowing clinicians to remotely guide the thread through patients’ brain vessels to treat blockages and lesions that can cause aneurysms and strokes. In a statement on the research completed on the thread-like technology, Kyujin Cho, professor of mechanical engineering at Seoul National University shared: “One of the challenges in surgery has been to be able to navigate through complicated blood vessels in the brain, which has a very small diameter, where commercial catheters can’t reach. This research has shown potential to overcome this challenge and enable surgical procedures in the brain without open surgery.”

 

 

Advent Health Launches AI- Powered Clinical Command Center

Clinical health system, Advent Health has opened 12,000 square-foot AI clinical command center to ensure efficient patient care across it’s nine hospitals. Built in partnership with GE Healthcare, the center will utilize artificial intelligence to inform and guide decisions across a number of departments and areas including  patient transfers between units and facilities, dispatch of ambulances and helicopters, and prioritizations of placement across the hospital’s multiple locations. Considered to be the largest hospital mission center of its kind, the center will operate 24 hours a day and will feature 60 monitors displaying real-time data including patient-status, ambulance status, and more.

 

 

Figures Reveals Healthcare Sector Most Vulnerable to Data Breaches

A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request from data security solutions firm Egress reveals that organizations within the healthcare industry are the most likely to fall victim to a personal data breach, with 18% of all breaches coming from the healthcare sector. The data further demonstrated that more than 60% of personal data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office this year were caused by human error. In a statement, CEO of Egress, Tony Pepper explained: “The healthcare sector persistently tops the list when analysing the sectors affected by data breaches. This is very concerning, especially given the nature of the data. Why this particular industry continues to suffer from internal breaches is worrying and the sector must quickly take action to identify how it can work towards mitigating the insider threat.”

 

 

Apple Health Records Joins Several Allscripts Platforms

Apple Health Records has integrated with a number of Allscripts EHR platforms, enabling iPhone users to assemble their personal health information across numerous difference organizations. Providers and patients documenting patient data with Allscripts’ Sunrise, TouchWorks EHR, and Professional EHR products will be given access to Apple’s platform. Patient’s will be able to view and share medication history, test results, procedures, immunizations, and various other medical data. In a released statement, Allscripts CEO Paul M. Black shared: “With Health Records on iPhone, patients can become more active members of their own care team. Health Records on iPhone empowers individuals to direct how their own health data is stored and used. We are proud to offer this and other FHIR-connected applications for our clients and their patients.”

 

 

MedTech Insider: MIT Develops Robotic Thread Designed To Travel Through Brain’s Blood Vessels
MedTech Insider: HHS Awards $107 Million to Health Centers

MedTech Insider: HHS Awards $107 Million to Health Centers

 

National U.K. Health Data Watchdog Sets Line on App Development

National Data Guardian (NDG), the United Kingdom’s health data watchdog has released a correspondence  between her office and the Information Commissioner regarding data sharing by Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The correspondence informed the ICO’s 2017 findings that data-sharing agreement between and NHS Trust and the Google-owned DeepMind broke the law.

The arrangement allows for the sharing of 1.6 million medical records between the two entitites without patient consent. In a release statement, National Data Guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott shared, “I do champion innovative technologies and new treatments that are powered by data. The mainstreaming of emerging fields such as genomics and artificial intelligence offer much promise and will change the face of medicine for patients and health professionals immeasurably… But my belief in innovation is coupled with an equally strong belief that these advancements must be introduced in a way that respects people’s confidentiality and delivers no surprises about how their data is used. In other words, the public’s reasonable expectations must be met.”

 

 

Hospital Study Supports Machine-Learning Based Medical Decisions

Recent research published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) examines the clinical impact of health IT vendor MedAware’s machine learning based patient safety platform. Designed to minimize medication-related risks, the MedAware technology was integrated into the center’s existing EHR system. The technology monitored all medical prescriptions issued over 16 months, with staff assessing alerts for accuracy, usefulness,  and clinical validity, recording physicians responses to all alerts generated. The results were then analyzed in a single medical ward, from a hospital-wide implementation. In a statement, research lead, Dr. Gadi Segal, head of internal medicine at Sheba, shared, “Today’s widely used rule-based systems for prevention of medication risks, including prescription errors and adverse drug events, are unsuccessful and associated with a substantial false alert burden. These alerts are ignored in nearly 95% of cases. Our study demonstrates that MedAware’s patient safety platform, which leverages a probabilistic, machine-learning approach based on outlier detection can significantly minimize such risk.”

 

 

HHS Awards $107 Million to Health Centers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to award nearly $107 million to over 1,300 health centers across all 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.The Quality Improvement award seeks to “ recognize the nation’s health centers – funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration – that have demonstrated excellence in areas such as behavioral health, diabetes prevention and management, and heart health.” The new funding comes after the HHS has announced plans to award nearly $400 million to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic crisis. Health Resources and Services Administration acting administrator Tom Engels shared in a statement: “Today we are recognizing nearly all Health Resources and Services Administration-funded health centers for their continued improvements on clinical quality measures and supporting them to continue as quality leaders nationwide in the years to come.”

 

 

New App Uses Gamification to Help Manage Asthma

A new app developed by health tech startup MySpira uses gamification and augmented reality functionality, release by Google (ARCore) and Apple (ARKit), to provide children with asthma tools to improve training and awareness of correct inhaler techniques. Developed by UK-based Orbital Media together with the University of Suffolk through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, the app was partly funded by Innovate UK and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In response to a limited study completed by the startup, MySpira medical advisor, Dr. Simon Rudland commented: “The initial results of this research are extremely promising, improving both technique and compliance. Not only does this lead to better health long-term, but if adopted nationwide, could dramatically reduce the number of emergency cases, resulting in fewer hospitalisations. We are looking at integrating this app into our existing asthma support services in the future.”

 

 

Left-Pocket/Right-Pocket: The Systemic Challenge Facing Health Tech Disruption

 

By Alfred Poor, The Health Tech Futurist

 

In the past decade, health technology has raced ahead at an unprecedented pace. We are seeing new tools that help diagnose and treat a wide range of illness and chronic disease sooner and more effectively. Telemedicine brings healthcare services to those who need it but who have difficulty getting to a hospital or other clinical setting. Remote patient monitoring can detect problems before they become emergencies requiring an ambulance ride and an expensive hospital readmission.

 

New wearables make it possible to automatically maintain a diabetic patient’s blood glucose levels within a much tighter range, greatly reducing the chance of expensive and life-changing secondary complications such as blindness or the loss of a limb. Smart implants can monitor important biometrics such as glucose levels without the frequent need for invasive finger sticks to draw blood. Innovation is not limited to diabetes. Exoskeletons and smart prosthetics can reduce healthcare costs while delivering a better quality of life. The list of disruptive innovations is nearly endless. But almost all of them share a common challenge; I call it the “Left-Pocket/Right-Pocket Problem.” A 2009 program in Camden, New Jersey, serves as a poster child demonstration of this situation. According to one government report, about half of all Medicare expenditures are spent on just five percent of the eligible beneficiaries. In Camden, a consortium of city hospitals pooled their data and discovered that one percent of the patients visiting the hospitals were responsible for $46 million in treatment costs over a five-year period.

 

A pilot program put together a team that targeted just 35 of these “frequent flyer” patients who racked up an average $1.2 million in hospital charges per month. Social workers coordinated their healthcare and other aspects of their lives, such as getting into drug treatment programs. They provided housing for the homeless patients and saw that they ate balanced meals every day. The result? The average monthly hospital costs were cut in half to $531,000. The cost of the program for a year was about $300,000. That amounts to a 20:1 return on investment. Here’s the problem; I don’t know of many hospital emergency departments that have line items in their budgets that cover apartment rent and social workers for homeless patients. The expenses come out of the left pocket, but the savings go into the right pocket. (Or to be more accurate, the “savings” mean that less money is taken out of the right pocket.) This is the challenge for disruptive health tech. It’s not enough to solve a problem; there must be a sustainable business model that pays for the new technology so that its development and production are sustainable.

 

Diabetes costs more than $300 billion each year in the U.S. alone, including both healthcare costs and reduced productivity. Imagine if a closed-loop wearable system could cut those costs by just one third, by eliminating many of the instances of costly complications. $100 billion is enough to pay more than $3,000 per year to each person with diabetes in the U.S. That would be more then enough to pay for a closed-loop insulin pump system for each patient. Similar cases can be made for other chronic diseases and ways that wearable health tech devices can provide a significant return on investment: COPD, heart failure, various forms of vision impairment, and more.

 

The problem is that we don’t have a closed-loop financial system to support these innovations. The savings – or reduced costs – benefit one entity’s budget while the cost of such programs might have to come from some other source.

 

We are seeing some signs of hope, however. For example, the Veterans Administration is a much more self-contained entity than some other healthcare organizations. The VA has been able to undertake some landmark projects in telehealth, especially in the areas of mental health treatment. The result has been greatly improved outcomes at much lower costs.

 

Businesses are another example of where health tech disruption is gaining traction. Employee fitness incentive programs have been proven over and over to have a real and significant return on investment that can transfer directly to a company’s bottom line. In addition to controlling healthcare costs (either direct costs or insurance premiums), these programs have been shown to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, foster employee engagement, and improve employee retention. These gains can add millions of dollars to a business balance sheet every year.

 

While it’s important to build a better mousetrap, the world won’t beat a path to your door if you don’t have a way to pay for it. Health tech businesses must do more than just show that their products and services will save money; they must also show how the money can move through the system to cover the costs of the devices in the first place.

 

 

Author bio: Alfred Poor, the Health Tech Futurist, believes that innovative health tech will save healthcare in the U.S. and worldwide by lowering costs and improving outcomes. He is a full-time technology speaker and writer, and is the Editor of Health Tech Insider, an industry website and newsletter that covers wearable and mobile devices for health and medical applications.

 

 

 

Left-Pocket/Right-Pocket: The Systemic Challenge Facing Health Tech Disruption