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Proteus Receives Patent for its “Smart Pill” Technology

Proteus Receives Patent for its "Smart Pill" TechnologyProteus Biomedical, a California based health technology company, will receive US Patent Number 8114021 for its ingestible sensor technologies. The patented technology process is labeled “Body Associated Receiver and Method” and includes the creation of digital communication networks within and around the body using their sensors.

Mark Zdeblick, the Chief Technical Officer at Proteus describes the patent as covering “devices worn on the body that communicate with other sensor-enabled devices in an optimal frequency band for body area communication networks.” This patent joins the other 40 currently held by Proteus.

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Five Ways mHealth Can Decrease Hospital Readmissions

Short term hospital readmissions are often a serious concern after severe ailments like heart attacks, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure. If Medicare patients return to the hospital for the same condition within 30 days, it can trigger a denial of reimbursement for the provider under the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to the potential reimbursement issues, these potentially preventable readmissions also cost money, time, and possibly loss of life.

With intervention, education, and improved communication, the number and costs of these visits can decrease significantly. mHealth and mobile devices will play a large part of those patient-doctor interactions and produce results in the changing healthcare landscape.

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TigerText Gets A Boost With $8 Million in New Funding

This week, TigerText Inc., a Santa Monica based secure texting service, received a second round of funding totaling $8.2 million. The company received $2.2 million in seed funding in 2010. This brings the company’s total backing to over $10 million. Easton Capital and New Science Ventures led the Series A investment. A partner from each company, John Friedman from Easton and Somu Subramaniam from New Science Ventures, joined the board of TigerText as part of the funding.

This funding is intended to accelerate the development of TigerText Pro for Business, their messaging platform for corporations. This system is SOX secure, referring to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and allows users to communicate securely. This can include group messaging sessions about sensitive subjects or keeping an entire mobile salesforce up to date about pricing and policy changes.

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Healthcare Executives Offer up 2012 Health IT Predictions

The year 2011 saw a variety of changes in health IT.  There was a clear expansion in the use of online and mobile technology allowing doctors, patients and insurance providers to digitally exchange information that used to be tracked with paper and pen. In the last twelve months, payers, providers, governmental agencies, and consumers supported a drastic increase in health information exchanges. The government distributed over $200 million in grants to 13 states for creating and using systems that allow consumers to shop around for healthcare coverage plans. GE and Microsoft began the process of developing an open, interoperable technology platform with clinical apps aimed at improving patient care. Consumer adoption of health apps was at an all-time high as the use of smartphones continued to rise.

As a result of these and other changes, experts predict a wave of changes over the course of 2012. After the proliferation of health apps in 2011, mobile professionals expect the Food and Drug Administration to step in and begin regulating their health claims and recommendations.  As the pool of care givers and facilities continues to shrink, many expect there will be an increased administration of care outside of brick and mortar facilities. Telemedicine and mhealth are two of the methods providers will depend on to pick up the slack and ensure access to health care across geographical and socioeconomic boundaries. EMR adoption has increased, and with that, the number of companies offering IT services to support its use has exploded in the last few years. During 2012, the organizations facilitating and supporting health communication will begin to consolidate.

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Using Old Cell Phones and SMS to Improve Health Outcomes

Those old cellphones you’re too embarrassed to carry around might have a second life. Medi Mobile, a nonprofit started by 24 year old Josh Nesbit, is aiming to collect those phones and use them to help improve medical outcomes for people living in third world countries. In these areas where access to technology has been consistently limited, cell phone saturation is thriving.

The program started with a simple idea. While working in rural Malawi, Nesbit saw workers traveling dozens of miles to deliver patient information to hospitals. Based on the readily available cell phone signal, which now covers 90% of the world’s population, he saw a better way. With a backpack full of old cell phones, a laptop and a $5,000 dollar grant, Nesbit began working with local medical professional to coordinate patient care.

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ATA Says Physicians Practicing Telehealth Should Have Interstate Privileges

The American Telemedicine Association is collecting signatures through FixLicensure.com to change the way doctors are licensed in America. This online petition is aimed at bringing attention to the difficulties medical professionals face when attempting to offer their services in multiple states.

Currently, doctors who are interested serving patients in different regions need to be registered in each of the states where they operate. This applies to tasks ranging from analyzing patient charts to actually administering service over the internet. Each state has separate and occasionally conflicting licensing processes the ATA says limits patient care.

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UC Davis Researchers Develop Mobile Microscope Capable of 350X Magnification Using iPhone 4

Using the popular iPhone 4, medical researchers at UC Davis created a portable microscope capable of magnifying an image 350 times. Clinical staff and physicians are able to view chemicals and cell types by simply adding a $40.00 lens to the device they already have in their pocket.  This assembled imaging device is able to view objects as small as 1.5 microns, or one millionth of a meter.

The widely available add on uses a ball lens that is normally only capable of magnifying an image five times. The properties of the iPhone camera sensor allow it to work with the lens to create points of focus that, when seamed together, make high resolution images. The phone’s software takes the image and reduces the distorting effects of the lens to create a clear picture of what is invisible to the naked eye. The app will be showcased during this week’s annual meeting of the Optical Society of America.

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