Telehealth news briefs for a brief week

In the UK yesterday it was the last public holiday before Christmas and in the US it is the relatively quiet semi-holiday week before US Labor Day, so here are some brief recent news items of note.

Medtronic’s CareLink Express monitor launched for their cardiac devices. Compatible with almost all Medtronic ICDs, CRT devices, ICMs and pacemakers, the monitor allows a ‘one-touch’ check by a clinician of device status via remote evaluation by a qualified device expert. In the pilot, the CareLink Express system cut patient wait times for device checks from an average of 84 minutes to less than 15 minutes. Cardiology Today article. Medtronic release.

Air Force Week 2012 was here in NYC last week and the medical presentation, which stressed deployment medical programs, included a demo of the Virtual Reality-Iraq/Afghanistan system to treat PTSD and TBI. The application uses VR simulation as an alternative to traditional prolonged exposure therapy, with the same goal of desensitizing the patient to specific stimuli. The demo included goggles, sound and the option of controlled walking or riding in a Humvee; it also has a scent generator in therapeutic use. Currently at 10 AF treatment centers. The Air Force’s Telehealth Virtual Reality System (Brain World) Related TA article on PE (Prolonged Exposure) Coach

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts won a US Army three-year, $1.9 million grant to develop miniaturized wireless sensors that can detect early signs of blood loss on the battlefield. Similar to a pulse oximeter, the sensors shine infrared and visible light through the skin and measure how blood in the arteries absorb different frequencies of light. Sensor accelerometers also detect body movement. Algorithms to be developed will process sensor data to measure seven different physiological signals, including what WPI calls “a novel way to detect bleeding.” Mobihealthnews Ed. Donna notes the similar use of infrared (near-infrared) underpins BriteSeed’s SafeSnips technology to prevent accidental cutting into blood vessels during minimally invasive surgeries, as presented at Health 2.0 NYC’s Shark Tank last month [TA 24 July].

Happtique, the online mHealth application ‘store’ backed by GNYHA Ventures, is launching a pilot program of mRx, its electronic prescription pad that allows practitioners to prescribe apps to their patients. The pilot will run through December and focus on cardiology, rheumatology, endocrinology, orthopedics, physical therapy, and fitness training. FierceMobileHealthcare. Related article in NY Times includes WellDoc, MobiSante’s smartphone ultrasound system.

How useful are randomised controlled trials in evaluating new ways of delivering care? An ‘on-the-one-hand, on-the-other’ item on the use of RTCs in telehealth research (based on observations of the WSD project) by Adam Steventon, on the Nuffield Trust site.