Author Archives


Glen Tullman–The Teaser

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Allscripts is one of the biggest companies in Health IT. Glen Tullman built it from almost nowhere and then last year after one bad quarter and a power struggle in the boardroom (which he initially won), he left–and he stresses it was his decision. Along the way there were lots of interesting choices made, and he and Allscripts ended up with a sweep of all the negative awards at this years HISSIES (including his first time as “Industry figure in who’s face you’d most like to throw a pie”).

But despite all the abuse, what Glen did over the past 15 years is pretty remarkable given the stagnant state of the enterprise HIT market. I’ve interviewed him almost every year since THCB started and he was never shy in giving his opinions. Last month I got him for a long retrospective. THCB will be running that in parts over the next week or so, and he dishes on the Allscripts’ record, on Epic, on the future of health IT and more.

But here’s a teaser…

Announcing the Novartis Thalassemia App Challenge

Health 2.0 is excited to announce the launch of the Novartis Thalassemia App Challenge sponsored by Novartis Oncology. There is a critical need to develop an innovative app solution that assists Thalassemia patients and their families in managing the disease, including monitoring/tracking of key parameters, treatment/medication adherence and recording of daily personal facts.

Thalassemia is a diverse family of genetic disorders affecting red blood cell production, causing anemia and consequently, patients suffer significant complications.1 Thalassemia can range from milder types to severe cases that start in infancy and require regular blood transfusions for patient survival.2 Clinical complications can vary by type of thalassemia, and patients also  may develop iron overload as a consequence of the disease or because of extra iron absorbed from blood transfusions.3 Most patients with thalassemia are of South and Southeast Asian, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern origin, with immigration broadening the global prevalence.4

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New Developer Contest: Create a Cancer Survivor Tool

ONC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are challenging app developers to create new tools to help cancer survivors. The new Crowds Care for Cancer: Supporting Survivors Challenge is asking app developers to create new tools meant to help survivors manage their care after they have completed cancer treatment.

HHS has had a series of developer contests that have spawned the creation of tools and apps to help patients and doctors better manage care. Some past app challenges include:

  • the Million Hearts Risk Check Challenge
  • the Blue Button Mash Up Challenge, and
  • the Ensuring Safe Transitions Challenge.

Cancer patients need more care coordination

The number of cancer survivors in the United States is currently estimated at 14 million people. With improvements in cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as the aging of the United States, this number is expected to rise.

While celebrating advances in cancer care, there remains a need to help patients manage their health after they have completed their primary treatment. Cancer survivors experience a host of physical and psychosocial long-term and late effects of the disease, and it’s the treatment of this that requires coordinated follow-up care.

Despite significant progress in cancer treatment, the complex and often fragmented state of end-of-treatment care may lead to harmful breakdowns in patient-provider communication. This can result in unmet health care needs. Better communication, data exchange, and care coordination have been shown to help the patients.

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It Was the Best of Times, it Was the Worst of Times

Optimized-EdisonAt Health 2.0 we have a natural bias toward the innovator, the entrepreneur, and the developer. Health care is largely broken, and those upstarts have the potential to fix it. But it’s by no means easy. Part of what we’re doing at our upcoming Health:Refactored conference is helping developers get access to APIs and other technical entrees into health care data (such as the SHIN-NY or HealthVault).

But as Paul Levy pointed out in a recent post about Epic’s domination of the large hospital system EMR market, and as Jonathan Bush hilariously detailed in a talk at last week’s TEDMED, health care’s money and data and power are still locked up in huge institutions that don’t have it in their business plans to give up that position — whatever their mission statements might say.

Francois de Brantes’ book The Incentive Cure details in a fun way how hard it is for providers to do the right thing, and how in the absence of changing incentives, most of the things that seem to make sense for better health (like holistic patient management, care variation reduction, better informed patients and providers) actually make worse sense for health care institutions. Which means that the dam is still holding back the torrent of ideas and solutions from innovators, entrepreneurs and developers. We know (broadly) what to do but we can’t do it. It’s the worst of times.

But two things are changing. One is that we at least recognize the problem. The system may be an addict, but it knows it’s one, and so does the taxpayer and the patient. So that first step has been taken. The second change is the flood of new technologies outside of, and now inside of health care, that can help us get through the next 11 steps. Todd Park says this is the best time ever to be a tech entrepreneur in health care. So is this the best of times? Eventually it’s up to all of us to make it so.

Attend New York Digital Health Accelerator’s First Demo Day

NYDHANine months ago New York Digital Health Accelerator‘s program began. Now it’s time for demo day, when eight companies get to show off their progress to date. NYDHA is run by the Partnership Fund for New York City and the New York eHealth Collaborative and was designed for growth-stage companies developing products for providers and patients in the care coordination, patient engagement, and health care analytics fields.

Who: NYDHA’s first class of eight companies:

ActualMeds’ software supports team-based medication management and reconciliation for high risk patients taking multiple drugs to reduce their drug related hospitalization and readmissions.

Aidin helps patients make the right choice of post-acute care providers by providing them with ratings and reviews on local rehab centers and nursing homes.

Avado partners with healthcare businesses to provide a platform that allows clinicians and patients to securely communicate, track, and manage health information.

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Finalists in the Shire ADHD Transitions Challenge

ShireWe are excited to announce the finalists of the Shire ADHD Transitions Challenges! The five finalists submitted innovative ideas for web or mobile apps that will help young adults, who are entering college or the workforce, manage their medication and help them conquer daily organizational and life management challenges. Let’s meet the finalists!

  • The ActionsHero App works the way that the ADHD brain works best; fast-paced, fun and with instant rewards. It takes time management to the next level in an integrative, fun way that keeps people actively involved on a daily basis and moving forward in small steps. Breaking down tasks into 8 areas of life helps maintain important priorities and gives the balanced outlook often missing in schedule planning.
  • ADHDGo will provide developmentally appropriate help to young people with ADHD through social support opportunities, practical life skills, expert information and self-management tools as they transition from adolescence through college and ultimately to the working world. The product utilizes a single convenient mobile website that is available anywhere at any time via desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet.
  • GenR Media has created the Life Balance Zone – College Life app. The app contains 4 main zones that are designed to support the student throughout their time in college – Planning Zone, Study Zone, Resource Zone, Reward Zone. Features like required study time and morning check-ins are built in the app to help the student balance their life in college and stay on track and reward him/her extra study breaks, playing a brain game featured in the app, or using small reward gift cards given by friends or family.

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The Public Votes! Votes for Health Care!

This Saturday we opened voting to the public, giving the people a chance to select the designs they like best for the Patient Portal for New Yorkers. The Patient Portal will be a highly secure website allowing New Yorkers to log in to access their own medical records, with the same ease and efficiency with which they have accessed their financial transactions for years.

Since we expect patients to use the Patient Portal regularly (in order to find out about recent lab results or prescriptions, or just as a reminder to schedule their next physical) we aim to create an interface that is both pleasant to look at and easy to use.

In January of this year, we opened a challenge that invited designers and software developers to submit prototypes for what that interface should look like. And now that the best of those designs are in, we are letting the public—those who will ultimately use the portal—rank the ones they like the most. Voting will be open until April 23rd, and we ask that you take a look and help us determine the interfaces you find the clearest, most straightforward and user-friendly.

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How Tech Can Empower Young Adults with ADHD

ShireA recent study by Boston Children’s Hospital and Mayo Clinic found that a staggering 29.3% of children with ADHD experience the disorder well into adulthood. High School and College students with ADHD face the intimidating challenge of entering a less-structured environment upon graduation. While ADHD medicine helps, there is a critical need for technologies that help manage behaviors and encourage medication adherence.  The Shire ADHD Transitions Challenge is offering $150,000 in total prizes for technologies that will azid young adults and help them manage the transitions between high-school and college as well as between college and the work force.

Phase I of the challenge focuses on ideation and closes in less than two weeks on March 17, 2013. Five submissions will be awarded $5,000 based on the quality and viability of their idea. Phase I requirements include:

1. Mock-up or drawing of concept
2. 5-page written document explaining the proposed application

Phase II of the challenge will involve the development of working applications proposed in Phase I of the competition. Submissions for Phase II are due August 18th.  The top three submissions will receive $100,000, $20,000, and $5,000, respectively.

Join us in finding a solution to this growing problem by spreading the word about the challenge (click to tweet). Learn more about how you can get involved here!

PILOT Health Tech NYC Matches Startups with NYC Health Care Service Organizations

Pilot-health-tech-nyc-final-web-01 smallLet’s face it, as a startup in the health care space, it’s not easy to land a first pilot to demonstrate the value your new technology, much less get paid for one. Strict federal regulations, billion dollar EMR implementations, and the fear of privacy leaks have made our nation’s providers very risk averse and extremely cautious about working with early stage health tech companies. Implementing new technologies in hospitals, where there are strict IT guidelines relating to ensuring patient data privacy and heavy bureaucracy, is difficult. Large hospital systems and other health care service organizations simply do not have the bandwidth or resources to guide companies through these challenges and therefore are reluctant to partner with early stage companies.

What results is a problem we are all too familiar with – failure of new technologies to diffuse into the market. Startups face the classic chicken and egg problem. As a startup, you need some traction, or proof of evidence that your technology brings some value to your customer. But in order to show that you bring value, a startup needs to test out the technology in the health care setting. Houston, we have a problem!

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), a non-profit that aims to catalyze economic growth in New York City’s five boroughs, recognized this problem early on and decided to tackle the issue head-on. After many health care stakeholder working groups and other research, NYCEDC launched PILOT Health Tech NYC in collaboration with Health 2.0, Blueprint Health, and Startup Health. PILOT Health Tech NYC matches early-stage health care technology companies (‘innovators’) with key NYC health care service organizations or individuals (‘hosts’), including hospitals, physician clinics, payors, pharma companies, and nursing associations. NYCEDC will fund approximately 10 innovative NYC-based pilot projects with up to $100,000 each. That funding is equity free and acts like a milestone based grant that can be split between the ‘host’ and the ‘innovator’ as they see fit.

And the best part – the program will help facilitate connections between ‘innovators’ and ‘hosts’ via matchmaking events to promote formation of partnerships. For most startups, that eliminates months (if not years) of cold-calling and precious business development resources.

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Interview with Stuart Fletcher, CEO, Bupa

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Founded in 1947, the United Kingdom private health insurance provider, Bupa, predates the National Health Service. Today Bupa is a global health care company, which includes subsidiary Health Dialog in the United Sates. CEO Stuart Fletcher explains Bupa’s decision to buy the health care management company.


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