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Tag: Android

Apple Research Kit is Open Source But Is It “Open”?

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For now, the answer is “we don’t know”.

But… the question is very important and worth tracking over the coming months. Let’s not assume that open source will equate to “open”.

What is ResearchKit?

Apple’s press release provided an overview of ResearchKit:

Apple® today announced ResearchKit™, an open source software framework designed for medical and health research, helping doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone® apps. World-class research institutions have already developed apps with ResearchKit for studies on asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

…With hundreds of millions of iPhones in use around the world, we saw an opportunity for Apple to have an even greater impact by empowering people to participate in and contribute to medical research,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations. “ResearchKit gives the scientific community access to a diverse, global population and more ways to collect data than ever before.”

Many members of the research community have had high praise for ResearchKit. For more details and perspectives about ResearchKit, see the list of articles appended at the bottom of this post.

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(Big) Garbage In. (Big) Garbage Out.

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In December, THCB asked industry insiders and pundits across health care to give us their armchair quarterback predictions for 2015. What tectonic trends do they see looming on the horizon? What’s overrated? What nasty little surprises do they see lying in wait? What will we all be talking about this time next year? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring their responses in a series of quick takes.

Joe DeSantis, Vice President of HealthShare Platforms, InterSystems

Information Exchange is dead. Long live Information Exchange: There was a lot of talk in 2014 about the failure of information exchange. When people take a closer look, they are going to see there are actually some good examples of this working and changing how care is delivered. We’ll see lots more examples in 2015.

(Big) garbage in, (big) garbage out: People are looking to big data and analytics to tackle population health and other problems. They will soon find that without addressing data quality and conditioning up front, the results will be disappointing at best. This will be the year of clean data.

Keep it simple: The mobile revolution has not yet had the impact on healthcare that it has had in other sectors. Recreating desktop applications on a phone is not the answer, nor are retreads of messaging standards. We will have to rethink how healthcare information is presented and used.

One portal, please: Everyone agrees that patient engagement is essential – but giving me four separate portals, six more for my wife and three more for my mother makes me enraged, not engaged! Thought leaders will begin to realize that patient engagement must be built atop true information sharing.Continue reading…

The Economics of Google Glass in Healthcare


A lot of people think Google Glass can be used as a development platform to create amazing healthcare apps. So do I.

Many of these ideas are relatively obvious, and many of them could be relatively simple to develop. But we won’t see most of them commercialize in the first year Glass is on the market. Maybe even 2 years. Why?

The most obvious analogy to Glass is the iPhone. It’s a revolutionary new technology platform with an incredible new user interface. Glass practically begs the iPhone analogy. Technologically, the analogy has the potential to hold true. But economically, it does not. Because of the economics of Glass, many of these great ideas won’t see the light of day anytime soon.

First, there’s the cost. Glass will run a cool $1500 when it lands in the US this holiday season. The most obvious analogy to Glass is the iPhone. It’s a revolutionary new technology platform with an incredible new user interface. Glass practically begs the iPhone analogy. Technologically, the analogy has the potential to hold true. But economically, it does not. Because of the economics of Glass, many of these great ideas won’t see the light of day anytime soon. There’s no opportunity for a subsidy because Glass doesn’t have native cellular capabilities.

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The Growing Malware Problem

On Friday I’m lecturing at Dartmouth College to the TISH workgroup (Trustworthy Information Systems for Healthcare) about the growing malware problem we’re all facing.

Have you ever seen a Zombie film?   If so, you know that to stop Zombies you must shoot them in the head – the only problem is that the steady stream of Zombies never seems to end and they keep infecting others.   Just when you’ve eradicated every Zombie but one, the infection gets transmitted and the problem returns.   You spend your day shooting them but you never seem to make any progress.

A Zombie in computer science is a computer connected to the Internet that has been compromised by a cracker, computer virus or trojan horse and can be used to perform malicious tasks of one sort or another under remote direction.

Starting in March of 2011, the rise in malware on the internet has created millions of zombie computers.   Experts estimate that 48% of all computers on the internet are infected.   Malware is transmitted from infected photos (Heidi Klum is the most dangerous celebrity on the internet this year),  infected PDFs, infected Java files,  ActiveX controls that take advantage of Windows/Internet Explorer vulnerabilities and numerous other means.

Here’s the problem – the nature of this new malware is that it is hard to detect (often hiding on hard disk boot tracks), it’s hard to remove (often requiring complete reinstallation of the operating system), and anti-virus software no longer works against it.

A new virus is released on the internet every 30 seconds.   Modern viruses contain self modifying code.  The “signature” approaches used in anti-virus software to rapidly identify known viruses, does not work with this new generation of malware.

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Does America Want Apple or Android for Health Care?

BY DAVIS LIU, MD

The future direction of American health care is unclear.  Certainly the cost trend as it exists is unsustainable with health care costs being a major concern of the private sector, the government, and individuals.  How does the nation manage costs while ensuring high quality medical care, access, and service?  Proposals include increasing competition among insurers, providers, and hospitals to drive down prices or giving more financial responsibility to patients via higher deductibles and co-pays with the belief that they will demand price transparency, shop around for the best price, and as a result slow health care costs.

What if both ideas are wrong?

While it is possible these plans might work, I cannot help but notice the similarities in the challenges for patients in navigating the health care system and consumers figuring out how to purchase and use technology.  Walk into your neighborhood electronics store.   Individuals are overwhelmed with the number of product choices, manufacturers, differences in technical specifications and features.  In the majority of situations, consumers are unsure of what they are purchasing.  They want something that just works, whether surfing the internet, making home movies, or being connected with loved ones.  The gap in knowledge between an expert and a consumer is great and often unintentional and unapparent.

Within the technology world, there are two groups of thought.  The first group offers technology in a closed system, like Apple, where the focus has been on just making things work.  There are a limited number of product types and designs.  For example, its current smartphone, the iPhone 4 comes in only two types.  Aside from the base memory of 16 GB or 32 GB and two different prices, the phones are otherwise identical in features with the same apps, cameras, and ability to record video.  Although the specifications are available for anyone to see, the focus is rarely on the technical elements of the products themselves and more on what they can do for you.  Walk into any Apple retail store and the products are situated by function.   Staff ask not how much computing horsepower, storage space, or CPU speed one needs, but what one plans on using the smartphone or computer for.Continue reading…

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