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Jun 24

HEALTHeME, a new mobile health and wellness company co-founded by Sloan Rachmuth and Guy Rachmuth, is helping primary care physicians manage their overweight patients outside the clinic walls. “Primary care physicians are on the front lines of diagnosing and treating obesity, but they are having hard time bending the curve,” explains Guy. “The reason obesity is so difficult to treat is because it truly requires a multidisciplinary approach of nutrition, exercise, and behavior therapy, but providers are not reimbursed by third-party payors for devoting that extra time.  Our goal was to lower the barrier to these experts.”

HEALTHeME uses a mix of phone texting and web messaging systems. Sloan explains their approach, “”Health messaging is a science in and of itself, and requires understanding of psychology of the person receiving the message. We really took the time to understand and master that and designed advanced algorithms to target our patients with content that they would relate to.”

The HEALTHeME system makes treatment a truly participatory endeavor for both patients and physicians. They start by having the physicians literally write a simple script for HEALTHeME, indicating the diet type, exercise plan, and other health parameters the provider wants the patient to monitor. A personalized plan is created by leveraging web and mobile technologies to proactively communicate with patients on a daily basis, sending them relevant and personal coaching tips on ways to modify their behavior. To ensure accountability, the physicians receive a report from HEALTHeME every several weeks, which then allows them to hone in on particular problems.

HEALTHeME, which just launched in April, is already generating revenue and reports that physicians are eagerly adopting their new platform.

Sloan Rachmuth will demonstrate the HEALTHeME system and share their results at e-Patient Connections 2010 in Philadelphia on September 28-29th.

Jun 23

UK-based Janssen-Cilag has released a new animated video that is shot from the perspective of a student with ADHD. The video is available on YouTube and can be found on a minimalistic campaign website called “Living with ADHD“.

The film uses a creative technique called ‘rotoscoping’, where real actors are filmed and then converted into “hyper-real” animations. It was developed following interviews with a range of patients, parents, doctors and teachers, and is shot through the eyes of a child with the condition, showing some of the issues they can face at home and at school.

See the video here.

Jun 21

healthseeker2From the press release:

A new game called HealthSeeker™ launched today to more than 400 million active users of Facebook, with the goal of helping adults with specific lifestyle and nutritional challenges. While the benefits of the game are available to anyone, HealthSeeker specifically helps people with diabetes make more informed lifestyle decisions in an innovative way that complements their daily use of social media.

HealthSeeker is a unique online experience that combines a supportive social networking environment with important information on managing diabetes. The game utilizes the player’s own Facebook friends as sources of inspiration and support along the road to better health.

The game was developed by Diabetes Hands Foundation in collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center, with financial support provided from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Actual game design was done by Ayogo Games.

This is a great example of how life science companies can participate in social media and gaming, and a solid model of partnering with worthy non-profits.

Jun 18

I’m constantly amazed when I hear (usually once a week) of another pharmaceutical company or hospital that blocks access to Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites from their employees. You get the normal reasons ranging from waste of time, to privacy, to bandwidth and virus concerns.

It’s all BS of course. I remember clearly in the late 90’s when I was delivering a speech about the benefits of company Intranets and the power of the Internet for learning and training. A woman stood up in the audience and shouted out loud, “But if we let people on the Internet they will surf the porn!”  Surprisingly nobody laughed; apparently others thought this was a good reason to ban the Internet too. I on the other hand thought it was hilarious–If I had a clip of her “surf the porn!” scream I would loop it into a dance remix.

The irony of course is that these same hospitals and pharma companies invite me in to lead workshops that teach their employees how to use social media for marketing and health communication purposes. I just can’t actually get on YouTube or Twitter to show them things because it’s blocked in their building. So I always ask if we can hold the training at a nearby hotel and use WiFi.

Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, put the counter argument best on his blog, “Facebook is a useful communications tool, just like email and telephones. The latter can be misused, too.”

And Paul conveyed e-Patient Dave deBronkart’s astute observation that in this day and age, if you ban it on the desktop people will just use their phones. It will only take them longer to get their message out.

And my personal take is banning anything, like most corporate rules is a cop-out by leadership. Employees will waste time and lose productivity? Well what kind of losers are you hiring anyway? What does this say about your level of trust in the organization? What does this say about your managers ability to manage, and your systems for tracking productivity and performance? Hire right, establish the right culture, and use performance-based compensation and you’ll never have to worry about productivity problems or people spending time “surfing the porn.”

[Shameless Plug: Meet them both. Pick their brains. Share your thoughts. We are honored to have both Paul Levy and e-Patient Dave as presenters at e-Patient Connections 2010. A can't miss event. Did I say "event"? Experience.]

Jun 16

r_intensiveThis is another great example of how technology, in this case the iPhone, is democratizing the creation of health solutions as well as enabling their use by a broader range of people.

A new company, Smarty Ears, has released a dozen iPhone applications designed to make speech and language therapy fun for students and affordable for parents and others. It was founded by Barbara Fernandes, a young and innovative speech and language pathologist. The apps cover probes for articulation, intense practice for the /r sound, which is a common practice area for children, and even bilingual practice apps.

Previously, parents had limited access to professional speech and language materials, because they can be expensive to purchase and are promoted only to professional speech pathologists. Smarty Ears, with their iphone apps, gives empowered parents the ability to offer their children additional practice at home.