“Continua Connects” Launched

The “Continua Connects” Technology Showcase & Networking Events to be held May 12-13, 2013 in Abu Dhabi will bring major purchasers together with developers and integrators of Continua compliant devices, systems, and services. The goal is to promote and support global adoption of interoperable design guidelines and to gain exposure for continua-ready personal health technologies developed by member companies.

The event in May is one of the first of five planned Continua Connects events and will support the rollout of “Weqay”, a regional connected health program focused on managing cardiovascular disease risks such as diabetes, hypertension, and smoking for the population of 2.4 million.

Continua Connects events are designed to promote standardization to governments preparing to implement a telehealth or mhealth program and to highlight new and available technologies to facilitate timely rollout for target programs requiring Continua compliant technologies.

Another event “Mobilizing Technology to Efficiently Deliver Quality & Cost-Effective Healthcare” will be held in Singapore June 24-27, 2013. This is the 2nd”Connected Health Asia 2013” event and will provide a comprehensive platform for healthcare institutions and solutions providers to examine issues in implementing eHealth and Mobile/Telemedicine.

Key topics will include how to develop a sustainable model for mobile health and telemedicine, how to achieve connectivity and interoperability in mHealth telemedicine and with EHRs , using mobile telemedicine in hospitals and for community care, selecting the right EHR system and telemedicine technologies, advancing healthcare delivery with EHR data, and connecting EHRs with mHealth.

For more information or to register for the “Continua Connects Technology Showcase”, email connect@continuaallliance.org. To register, for “Mobilizing Technology to Efficiently Deliver Quality & Cost Effective Healthcare”, go to www.connectedhealthasia.com/index.php.  Continua members will receive a 15% discount. Contact admin@continuaalliance.org for details.

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LifeBot to Demo New System

Lifebot LLC will be premiering their new advanced telemedicine system called LifeBot 5 at the largest American Telemedicine Association (ATA) meeting ever held with 6,000 projected attendees May 5-7 in Austin Texas. The ATA meeting for the past 18 years has been the foremost forum for healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs in the telemedicine, telehealth, and mHealth space.

The new LifeBot 5 promises to revolutionize the way remote care is delivered and reduce both the risks and costs of deploying telemedicine systems in clinic-to-hospital, hospital-to-hospital, and hospital-to-ambulance communications.

The system is very affordable since it begins under $20,000 and costs less than half of most existing telemedicine solutions that have many less critical features. Since LifeBot 5 is portable, it can be installed instantly putting life-saving telemedicine systems on the fast track to full scaled deployment.

Unlike existing instruments, LifeBot 5 is modular in construction so it may be readily adapted to new technologies or be easily upgraded as critical needs arise. The system is being made even smaller and lighter to serve future needs.

According to CEO Roger Heath, “Demand is high and we are currently in the process of gearing up production to meet the demand. Significant advancements have been made to the base software and hardware component structures by adding many new features to the original LifeBot DREAMS system. Details on the new features will be released soon.”

For more information on the ATA Annual International meeting & Trade Show go to www.americantelemed.org and for information on LifeBot 5, go to www.lifebot.us or visit exhibit booth #426 at the ATA meeting.

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News from NIH

The NIH Brain Initiative launched with $100 million is going to focus on revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that will show how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space.

Understanding the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information all at the speed of thought. NIH intends to allocate $40 million for the initiative in FY14 and collaborate closely with DARPA and NSF. (more…)

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Illinois Funding Pilot Program

Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn announced funding for $750,000 to develop a pilot program to help workers in the state receive training in healthcare. The State is working in partnership with the National Latino Education Institute, a not-for-profit community services organization that provides quality job training, education, and employment services.

The state’s investment will help a not-for-profit organization called New Start, Inc. offer a Northern Illinois Regional Certified Nursing Assistance (NIRCNA) training program in Latino communities in the state. New Start has been implementing workforce training for over 40 years.

The new funding will enable New Start to offer the NIRCNA training program at the National Latino Education Institute in Chicago which will provide training in Cook and surrounding counties. The funding will also enable the Central Illinois Regional Certified Nursing Assistant (CIRCNA) training program to be given at New Start’s Springfield Illinois office so that training can be provided in other counties in the state.

The Governor has also directed the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to lead a Health Care Workforce workgroup to recommend steps that the state needs to take to fill thousands of new healthcare jobs. The workgroup will assess and plan for jobs to meet the health needs of the state’s growing, increasingly diverse, and aging population.

The workgroup will assess the existing healthcare workforce landscape and analyze the gaps that need to be filled both for current needs and the impending demand that will be apparent once hundreds of thousands of people gain access to health coverage as of January 1, 2014. The workgroup will recommend a workforce action plan by September 2013 to immediately address any gaps that are needed to strengthen training and education for healthcare jobs.The workgroup not only includes IDPH, but also departments of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Healthcare & Family Services, Aging, Financial & Professional Regulation, Employment Securities, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Services, and Children & Family Services. Support is also available from the University of Illinois (Chicago) School of Medicine and from external stakeholders as needed.

In addition, the Illinois Workforce Investment Board just voted again to set up a Health Care Taskforce to develop a long-term strategic plan to maintain a sustainable labor force in the state. The taskforce will allow for broader stakeholder engagement and build upon the current work of the Illinois Pathways and Health Sciences STEM Learning Exchange.

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Telehealth Growing at the VA

The Veterans Administration is making good use of Clinical Video Telehealth (CVT) in new ways at VA’s Butler Healthcare System located in Pennsylvania. Several new programs are in effect. They include working with the Louis A. Johnson Medical Center in Clarksburg West Virginia to assist veterans with limb amputations with concerns related to fitting and other issues, assisting veterans receiving blood thinning products at the Mercer and Laurence Community-based outpatient clinics, and diagnosing treatments needed for speech language cognitive programs.

The Minnesota VA received over $200,000 in grants to improve emergency healthcare services for women and to offer more telehealth services. Several examples of specialized services include telepharmacy using video conferencing to provide pharmacotherapy, and support for the Maternity Care Coordination Telehealth pilot project located in Greater Los Angeles.

The VA Boston Healthcare System (VA-BHS) actively involved in telehealth is now adding more clinical options for patients to use. Right now VA-BHS offers telehealth to deliver services in radiology, mental health, spinal cord injury, nutrition, vascular surgery, allergy issues, orthopedic surgery, amputation care, dermatology and retinal imaging. In addition, many of the outpatient clinics are establishing a CVT based relationship to deliver and coordinate other clinical specialties to include home-based primary care and teleaudiology.

Since many veterans live in rural areas, the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center-Eastern Region is collaborating with the Lake City VAMC Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Clinic to provide veterans with ALS a new care coordination program that involves telerehabilitation and telemedicine to help veterans in Northern Florida and in the Georgia Veterans Health System.

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Cogmed Improves Memory

Cogmed Working Memory Training is a computer-based cognitive training program for children and adults who need to improve their working memory. The University of California at the Davis MIND Institute recently received a four year $1 million grant from the John Merck Fund’s Translational Research Program in developmental disabilities to study cognitive training in children with fragile X syndrome. (more…)

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Assessing Replacement MMIS

North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS requested that an independent assessment be done by Susan D. Young, a Charlotte-based IT consultant to gauge the readiness of the state’s Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS). The assessment was conducted between January 7, 2013 and February 1, 2013 and showed that the new MMIS system scheduled to live July 1, still has some critical challenges.

The new MMIS will replace a 35 year old computer system that processes 88 million state Medicaid claims each year on behalf of 1.5 million Medicaid recipients and issues checks to 70,000 providers totaling more than $11 billion.

(more…)

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