Business briefs etc. for 17 August

California Telehealth Network launches:  The University of California and a coalition of health care organizations, technology companies and government agencies are scheduled to announce today the launch of the California Telehealth Network. The CTN will connect 300 health care facilities and 800 doctors’ offices to state and national broadband networks to bring healthcare to rural and poor Californians.  The $22.5 million funding is from public and private sources, with a large but unspecified portion coming from the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program.  San Francisco Business Times
Update and additional details from the announcement, 18 August: According to iHealthBeat, the Sacramento Bee reports CTN to be the largest in the US.  UC-Davis Medical Center will be the network’s control center.  The target number is 900 health care providers by 2011.  CTN funding is now reported as nearly $30 million:  $21 million from the FCC, $3.6 million in matching funds from the California Emerging Technology Fund and an unspecified amount from the California HealthCare Foundation.  Article.
Proteus Biomedical received CE Mark approval to market its ingestible sensor and personal physiologic monitor system in the EU.  Proteus also received ISO 13485:2003 certification for the design, development and manufacture of its product system.  Release.

Federal initiatives to expand broadband?  Pew!  According to a survey released last Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, about 53% of U.S. residents believe Federal initiatives to expand broadband connections should not be attempted or are “not too important” of a priority.  When 63% believe it is a ‘minor’ or ‘no’ disadvantage, spending $7.2 billion in ‘stimulus funding’ for broadband grants could be a perception problem.  iHealthBeat. 

It could have something to do with effectiveness.  A study published in BMC Health Services Research last week reviewed 36 international ‘telehealth’ studies (actually telemedicine video consultations) with mixed results.  Delivery of health services by real time video communication was cost-effective for home care and access to on-call hospital specialists, showed mixed results for rural service delivery, and was not cost-effective for local delivery of services between hospitals and primary care.  A systematic review of economic analyses of telehealth services using real time video communication:  Abstract, PDF.

West Wireless Developer Integration Challenge:  San Diego’s West Wireless Health Institute announced a $10,000 incentive prize open to software developers around the world.  The Institute is challenging developers to design a secure mechanism that can be standardized and will integrate personalized information from an established social network interface (such as OpenSocial) with health data derived by wireless health sensors.  Think fast, because the deadline is 15 SeptemberDetails.