Medtech’s existential crisis and how it can survive

The new EY report even includes an equation to show how medtech and other life science companies will need to deliver value: “Future value (FV) is driven by innovation (I) that focuses on outcomes with a high degree of personalization and is fueled
by unlocking the power of data (D.” [Image courtesy of EY]

Executives in medtech and other life sciences companies view digital health startups and high tech giants as an existential threat. To compete, they’re going to have to invest in or acquire customer engagement and personalization skills usually associated with online retailers and social networking sites, according to a new report out today from EY.

The report — Life Sciences 4.0: Securing value through data-driven platforms — quotes Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky to indicate where things are going:  “Technology will touch everything that we do, whether it’s the way we use data to better understand the genome … or as it applies to things like minimally invasive surgery, even the way we talk to consumer vis-à-vis social media.”

Technology isn’t the only factor driving the change. Aging populations in the developed world mean that both public and private payers are tackling budgetary constraints and longstanding inefficiencies in healthcare systems.

In the medical device industry, companies are having to decide whether they are products companies selling to health providers or services companies focused on patients as a customer, according to the report’s author, Pamela Spence,  EY Global Life Sciences industry leader.

“I think companies need to decide what they want to be. … It’s hard to do both,” Spence said during an interview with our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing.

Get the full story on MDO. 

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Google looks to take healthcare into the Cloud

Google (NSDQ:GOOG) is taking its Cloud services into the field of healthcare as it aims to enable data sharing and collaboration between providers and patients, according to a recent blog post from the tech giant.

The company said it recently launched the Cloud Healthcare API service to address interoperability issues in healthcare data. The system includes a scalable infrastructure designed to ingest and manage healthcare data, including HL7, FHIR and DICOM formats, and allow for its use in analytics and machine learning systems, according to the post.

Google said it is already working with the Stanford School of Medicine through an early launch program to test the Cloud Healthcare API.

“Open standards are critical to healthcare interoperability as well as for enabling biomedical research. We have been using the Google Cloud Genomics API for a long time and are very excited to see Google Cloud expanding its offerings to include the new Cloud Healthcare API. The ability to combine interoperability with Google Cloud’s scalable analytics will have a transformative impact on our research community,” Stanford School of Medicine Research IT director Somalee Datta said in prepared statement.

The company said it is hopeful that its cloud-based Healthcare API will improve adoption of machine learning in the healthcare field and allow for increased clinical insights and improvements for patients, according to the blog post.

Google said it is working with a number of partners in the healthcare field utilizing its cloud-based services, including Flex, Imagia, Kanteron Systems and WuXi NextCODE.

Another partner, DiA Imaging Analysis, said today it inked a collaborative deal with Google Cloud looking to produce new automated tools for ultrasound imaging analysis.

The Israel-based company said it is developing tools using machine learning algorithms and pattern recognition on Google’s Cloud platform, looking to improve both immediate and remote evaluations of ultrasound images.

“One of DiA’s obvious advantages is its ability to operate cross platforms. Our automated tools can be easily implemented into any ultrasound device and any healthcare IT system including cloud based platforms, all as part of the physician’s workflow. Once Google Cloud announced its engagement with the medical imaging industry, it was natural that we join forces to offer our quick and accurate auto ultrasound analysis, together with Google’s cloud-enabled capabilities, in order to improve patient outcome,” DiA CEO Hila Aslan said in a prepared release.

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Attivo Networks receives validation from BD for BOTsink cybersecurity solution


[Image courtesy of Blogtrepreneur on Flickr, per Creative Commons 2.0 license]

Attivo Networks recently announced that it has received validation through a BD Product Security Partner Program for its BOTsink cybersecurity deception solution when used with BD devices. The company recently expanded its IOT portfolio and the BD collaboration will allow for improved detection capabilities against cyber threats that impact medical devices.

The deception-based threat detection in the BOTsink features decoys and lures that misdirect potential attackers from production assets. Through the collaboration, BOTsink decoys will provide software on certain BD products that will create mirror-match decoy authenticity. This will create an illusion where a potential attacker will not be able to tell what is real and fake. It will also show what an attacker is doing as they scan systems or try to download malware onto medical devices.

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

Apple continues its foray into healthcare, puts select EHR data on iPhone devices


Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) said this week it is introducing a feature allowing customers to obtain, view and keep medical records on their iPhones, continuing the company’s experimentation into the healthcare market.

Electronic health records will be available within the company’s Health application, with 12 different healthcare organizations already agreeing to make their records available to current customers.

Records viewable on the mobile devices were created based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standards, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said. Medical data stored on iPhone devices are encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Apple said.

“Our goal is to help consumers live a better day. We’ve worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years — to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone. By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives,” Apple COO Jeff Williams said in a press release.

Participating medical institutions include Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Medicine, Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai, Philadelphia’s Penn Medicine, Danville, Penn.’s Geisinger Health System, San Diego’s UC San Diego Health, Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, Dignity Health, Jefferson Parish, La.’s Ochsner Health System, MedStar Health, Columbus, Ohio’s OhioHealth and Kansas City’s Cerner Healthe Clinic, Apple said.

“Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one. This is why we are excited about working with Apple to make accessing secure medical records from an iPhone as simple for a patient as checking email,” Johns Hopkins Medicine CIO Stephanie Reel said in a prepared statement.

“Putting the patient at the center of their care by enabling them to direct and control their own health records has been a focus for us at Cedars-Sinai for some time. We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones. Apple is uniquely positioned to help scale adoption because they have both a secure and trusted platform and have adopted the latest industry open standards at a time when the industry is well positioned to respond,” Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin said in prepared remarks.

Last month, Apple was reported to be developing an in-house ECG for its Apple Watch that would compete with the recently approved KardiaBand made by AliveCor.

How blockchains could empower patients and secure data

chrissa mcfarlane

Chrissa McFarlane, founder and CEO of Patientory [Image from LinkedIn]

Blockchains are best known as the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. But the founders of a young Atlanta-based company called Patientory think they could have another important use – securing health data and empowering patients along the way.

Secure access to patient data is a major issue for the healthcare industry. Patients have a hard time accessing their records and hospital networks need to transfer the data between networks if a patient chooses a new provider. That process can take days to complete, and even then, the patient doesn’t own their data.

“The biggest burden we have is getting access to patient data,” said Chrissa McFarlane, Patientory’s CEO and founder.

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

Siemens Healthineers launches Share360 clinical engineering support platform


Siemens Healthineers

Siemens (NYSE:SI) Healthineers said today it launched the Share360 in-house service portfolio designed to support clinical engineering departments with customizable levels of support.

The newly launched Share360 portfolio is intended to support customer service strategies by letting users customize the level of collaboration with Siemens they need, as well as optimizing workforce utilization, the company said.

“With the introduction of our Share360 service portfolio, Siemens Healthineers proudly offers in-house clinical engineering teams an unprecedented level of flexibility in determining the level of service and maintenance support they receive from us. By tailoring a support solution designed around the unique capabilities and requirements of a particular clinical engineering team, Siemens Healthineers can help that team meet its goals, increase efficiency, and better work toward success,” Healthineers NA services biz management VP Matthew McCallum said in a prepared statement.

Last week, Healthineers said it closed its acquisition of the Epocal point-of-care blood diagnostic business from Alere and Abbott (NYSE:ABT) for an undisclosed amount.

Zebra Medical Vision to host AI1 image analytics on Google Cloud


Zebra Medical Vision

Israeli machine-learning radiology firm Zebra Medical Vision said it will be uploading its radiology algorithms to the Google (NSDQ:GOOG) Cloud as part of the AI1 automated imaging analytics tools offering it announced last month.

The AI1 analytical platform includes a deep learning engine system that can detect various medical findings from image scans on its own, including the detection of liver, lung, cardiovascular and bone disease.

The Israel-based company also said said it is planning to introduce new capabilities that would cover breast cancer, lung cancer, brain trauma, hypertension and other clinical areas.

Zebra said the move to cloud-based hosting will be essential as the amount of imaging data is expected to double in the next 5 years and could become a significant challenge to healthcare providers.

With the shift, Zebra said its tools will be run from Google’s Cloud platform and allow radiologists to include analysis from the AI1 platform in their normal reporting workflow.

“With the AI1 all-in-one offering, enabled on Google Cloud, we can offer health providers ongoing population-health and clinical insights to improve patients’ lives and reduce healthcare costs. We are making a commitment to provide our current tools, and all future ones, for a flat $1 USD per scan. By doing so we believe that a true difference can be made in the provision of radiology services worldwide,” Zebra co-founder & CEO Elad Benjamin said in a press release.

Late last month, Zebra said it plans to launch its AI1 tools to healthcare providers for approximately $1 per scan.

Leerink fund raises $313m for HIT plays

Leerink Transformation PartnersA fund backed by investment bank Leerink Partners raised $313 million for investments in the health information technology sector.

Boston-based Leerink Transformation Partners said its first fund was significantly oversubscribed compared with the $250 million it initially sought to raise. Co-founder Todd Cozzens is a medical device industry veteran and former Sequoia Capital partner; Dr. Jared Kesselheim, a internist, spent 8 years at Bain Capital Ventures.

“We are distinctly positioned to help the best healthcare IT and services companies and their leaders accelerate their growth because of our differentiated backgrounds as founders, operators, clinicians, and investors,” Cozzens said in prepared remarks.

“We built a fund entirely focused on healthcare IT and services because of two key transformative tailwinds: The rapid adoption of information technology and the $3 trillion reimbursement shift underway from fee-for-service medicine toward value-based care,” Kesselheim added. “These drivers have created an unprecedented opportunity for disruption in a massive market whose complexity is best addressed by a fund with 100% sector focus.”

The inaugural fund also manages a $28 million pool, the Massachusetts Innovation Catalyst Fund, a $28 million fund, for backing Massachusetts-based companies.

“Massachusetts is home to some of the top hospitals and biopharmaceutical companies in the world and has abundant software engineering talent, so it is a natural geography to excel in developing healthcare IT businesses,” Kesselheim said. “We’re thrilled to build great local relationships and contribute to the Massachusetts healthcare ecosystem with the MICF.”

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