Toumaz has BIG day, announcing FDA approval & joint venture with physician billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong

Cross posted from iMedicalApps.com.

Amplify’d from www.imedicalapps.com

Toumaz has BIG day, announcing FDA approval & joint venture with physician billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong

Toumaz Limited, developer of a new ultra-low power radio technology that competes with Bluetooth and Zigbee, announced this week that they have received FDA approval for its Sensium Digital Plaster technology.

Toumaz has also announced it will be entering into a new joint venture with California Capital Equity (CCE), the holding company of pharmaceutical billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, for the purpose of commercializing and distributing Sensium Digital Plaster. The new entity will be called Toumaz US and based in San Diego, CA.


This is a very big deal for the advancement of Body Area Network (BAN) technology, defined as a system of devices in close proximity to a person’s body that cooperate for the benefit of the user.  Read after the break to find out why.

Sensium Digital Plaster is an ultra-small, ultra-low power wireless body-worn monitor that continuously and unobtrusively acquires high-quality vital signs data, including temperature, heart rate and respiration rate.

According to the company website, Toumaz will license its ultra-low power wireless sensor nodes to third party developers building “own brand” wireless monitoring systems. These systems can transmit data via the Sensium Base Station or a Smartphone app, though Toumaz shows no indications of a desire to become an app development company.

Dr. Soon-Shiong was quoted in the press release announcing the joint venture saying, “Without a doubt, wireless is the future of healthcare. Wireless technology is the key to bringing quality healthcare to everybody, wherever they may be, in real time. Toumaz’s ultra-low power technology is going to be a vital element in this, and our joint venture opens up exciting prospects.”

Under the terms of the new partnership, CCE will provide up to $25m of funding to the company over the next two years and will own 80% of the equity in Toumaz US. The remaining 20% will be held by Toumaz Limited and its CEO, Chris Toumazou, will join the board of Toumaz US as Vice Chairman while Dr. Soon-Shiong will serve as Chairman. Toumaz will also receive licensing and royalty revenues from the joint venture as it commercializes its Sensium Digital Plaster technology.

It was unclear in the press release if the joint venture is intended strictly for the commercialization of the Sensium Digital Plaster technology, but it seemed to indicate that Dr. Soon-Shiong also owns a small stake in Toumaz Limited. It seems reasonable to conclude that Toumaz US will be a one-product company, with Toumaz Limited maintaining ownership of its remaining intellectual property

Patrick Soon-Shiong is arguably the greatest physician entrepreneur to ever live. He has founded and exited two separate pharmaceutical companies, each time taking home a ten-figure paycheck, all in the last 10 years. He is now the wealthiest man and single largest landowner in Los Angeles, as well as 10% owner of the Lakers. However, Dr. Soon-Shiong is by no means ready to slow down, and he now has his sights squarely set on the mHealth sector.

Just last month his Institute for Advanced Health (IAH) announced it would be developing a $200m data center in Phoenix, AR, which is rumored to be the first of several data centers to come.

Below you can learn a bit more about Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, his contributions to medicine and his vision for the future of the connected health care system. He should be an inspiration to aspiring physician entrepreneurs everywhere!

Read more at www.imedicalapps.com


Three mHealth startups win Rock Health slots | FierceMobileHealthcare

[1]Three mHealth startups have won coveted spots on business incubator Rock Health's new accelerator platform. Rock Health just announced 11 overall winners in its first class yesterday.

The program provides $20,000 in startup cash, plus five months of training sessions, mentoring, and workshops with business gurus from places like Harvard (the alma mater for all four of Rock Health's founders), and healthcare/eHealth experts with the Mayo Clinic, Epocrates and Doximity, Rock Health co-founder Halle Tecco tells FierceMobileHealthcare.

Right now the winners are all at different stages of development. Some are still polishing their initial idea, while others have prototypes they're beta-testing and a few are nearly ready for market, Tecco says. The program's goal, she explains, is to develop each participant's business plan, prototype and other key elements so that in five months, the companies are ready to pursue true six- or seven-figure venture capital to bring their products to market.

The three mHealth candidates include:

  • CellScope: This University of California-Berkley-developed company is working on smartphone attachments for at-home diagnostic testing. The first prototype, now in development, will diagnose children's ear infections, Tecco says. It works like this: A microscope-type device is attached to the smarthphone, and takes a high-resolution, microscopic picture of the inside of the ear. The image then can be transferred to a medical professional for diagnosis. The ultimate product, according to Tecco, will diagnose a "portfolio" of conditions, including other types of infection and possibly even cardiac conditions.
  • Pipette: Physicians will use this smartphone-based product to provide reminders and prompts to keep patients compliant with their treatment regimens, Tecco says. For example, if a patient has a new regimen of diet, drugs and therapy, the physician can craft a series of texts, messages or questions about pain, mobility, drug compliance, and other topics.

    The messages are automatically delivered according to the parameters the physician sets up, she explains. For example, with a CHF patient, the physician might include daily reminders about measuring their weight, and automatic questions each week about the patient's diet. Patients respond to the prompts, and the physician uses the information to determine if the patient needs follow up.

    One interesting note: The company's founders originally targeted the technology for service companies like hotels and restaurants, to interact with customers during travel. Ultimately, they saw a greater opportunity in healthcare, and switched focus to physician/patient use, Tecco says.

  • Skimble: This fitness app is the furthest along of all the mHealth candidates, and already has an offering in the iTunes app store. "It's doing quite well," Tecco says. The app is a relatively straightforward fitness product, providing personalized workouts and exercise guidance. One innovative item: It does offer some analytics that allow users to build on today's exercise or fitness data to craft future workouts, and ensure steady improvement. "We really wanted to make sure we had one fitness product in our portfolio," Tecco says.

To learn more:
- read the Rock Health press release [2]
- get more detail [3] at Xconomy
- check out coverage [4] at AllThingsD

Related Articles:
Rock Health gives mHealth startups platform [5]
Interactivity, time determine success of hospital apps [6]
Childrens Hospital of Boston launches app store competition [7]

Rock Health has been one of the most exciting news stories of 2011 in the digital health space and just this week announced its first class of start-ups, including three mHealth companies. Rock Health was co-founded by Harvard MBA student Halle Tecco, who has emerged as a rising thought leader in the intellectual battle to bring innovative digital health technology to consumers though her incubator's focus on attracting successful entrepreneurs to take risks in the under-appreciated Connected Care sector. I expect big things from these companies as their products mature and they graduate as the inaugural Rock Health class.

Wireless applications makes monitoring health easy | CTIA-The Wireless Association® Blog

Great feature on remote patient monitoring solutions. mHealth is absolutely (IMHO) the most under-appreciated emerging sector of information technology.


AMA - Total Physicians by Race/Ethnicity (2006)

Total Physicians by Race/Ethnicity - 2006

(total physicians = 921,904)

American Native/Alaska Native1,444.02

Source: Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the US, 2008 Edition. American Medical Association.

Interesting demographic breakdown of US physicians. I think the number to watch going forward will be the Hispanic share of the physician market, which could conceivably grow to a larger percentage than Asians (12%) within next 15 years.

Posted via web from Connected Care Solutions


The American National Broadband Plan on Health Care: Opportunity in Abundant Supply | Broadband for America

This blog is a crosspost from http://theworldwellinherit.blogspot.com/2010/03/american-national-broadband-plan-on.html

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) was issued last week to a warm reception and many high profile endorsements of its overriding objectives. The NBP addresses the issues of telemedicine, mobile health and the health care information technology (HCIT) industry as a whole through a candid snapshot of the current marketplace in chapter 10 (download the chapter here). In short, there is a clear acknowledgment of the possibility for innovation and new economic activity. Above all else, it is a clear attempt to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in new and clearly under-served markets.

It gave particular emphasis to the expectations that mobile health will provide tremendous economic activity and innovation over the course of the coming decade and beyond (See 3G Doctor Blog for additional highlights). I can say there is already considerable headway made in pursuit of these mobile health initiatives, particularly in the realm of body sensor networks, which consist of 'very short-range networks consisting of multiple body-worn sensors and/or nodes and a nearby hub station. The sensors and/or nodes make it possible to wirelessly transmit data to body-worn or closely located hub devices.' Hub devices can be any variety of connectivity agent (e.g. wireless routers, smart phones, netbooks and wireless data cards) which enable to exchange of patient information via dedicated broadband network.

Wave Technology Group is a company my partners and I recently engaged through the University of Chicago Hospital's Pediatric Epilepsy Center. Wave was launched by Sam Cinquegrani, a local Chicago entrepreneur who cut his teeth is software developing object-oriented platforms for institutional clients such as the City of Chicago and the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) and Fortune 100 corporations, namely JP Morgan and Mitsubishi.

Sam's financial platforms sit at the center of the global economy and the broadband superhighways, facilitating the millions of daily transactions that pass through the largest options exchange in the world within a millisecond of their execution by traders working via custom applications that reside on their standard issue smart phone (e.g. Blackberry, iPhone, Android or Windows Mobile) and laptops or netbooks. Yet, despite the robust growth and success of this venture, Sam began to see an even bigger opportunity to take his platform-centric vision to a similarly information-intensive industry – Health Care.

To begin realizing this vision and true to his innovation-oriented disposition, Sam soon began experimenting with variations of his mobile trading technology, which couples bluetooth and 3G data connectivity provided by telecoms. My partners and I see Sam's vision as a brilliant approach to spawning application development and innovation in specialized telemedicine applications for treatment of diseases with easily targetable patients, such as the pediatric epilepsy joint venture Sam broached with the University that led him to us.

Sam is not alone in his optimistic outlook for the HCIT marketplace - IBM Strategic Finance and GE Capital have both extended multi-billion dollar funds to provide zero-percent interest financing to physicians as an additional incentive to spur early adoption. These two multi-national corporations are primarily motivated by a desire to bolster their EHR, EMR and HIE products, but they also reap the long-term windfall of collecting the Federally mandated subsidies outline in the HITECH Act as part of last years stimulus package. In total, they subsidize are currently slated to be $19B and change during a four year time frame from October 2010 through 2014.

Broadband for America is a good resource on the current state of broadband deployment and adoption with specific information on the impacts in health care and medicine, BfA is on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/BroadbandforAmerica.

My guest contribution to BroadbandforAmerica.com following the National Broadband Plan, which was issued last week.

Posted via web from Connected Care Solutions


Federal Telemedicine News: $125 Billion Budget Request

Monday, February 8, 2010

$125 Billion Budget Request

Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs appeared before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on February 4th to discuss the President’s VA budget request for FY 2011. The President’s budget provides $125 billion in 2011 which is almost $60.3 billion in discretionary resources and nearly $64.7 billion in mandatory funding.

The Secretary reported that in December 2009, the VA successfully exchanged electronic health record information in a pilot program between the VA Medical Center in San Diego and a local Kaiser Permanente hospital using the Nationwide Health Information Network. During the second quarter of 2010, DOD plans to join the pilot and there are plans to add additional Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record health community sites. The VA has $52 million available in IT funds in 2011 to continue the development and implementation of this priority.

The budget provides $51.5 million to use for medical care in 2011, which is an increase of $4 billion or 8.5 percent over the 2010 level. In 2011, the budget provides $2.6 billion to help meet the needs of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The FY 2011 budget also includes funding to treat new patients resulting from the recent decision to add Parkinson’s disease, ischemic heart disease, and B-cell leukemia to the list of presumptive conditions for veterans with service in Vietnam.

The VA’s 2011 budget includes $250 million to strengthen access to healthcare for 3.2 million enrolled veterans living in rural and highly rural areas. Plans are to provide new rural health outreach and delivery initiatives and to expand the use of home-based primary care and mental health services.

The VA intends to expand the use of cutting edge telehealth technologies and would like to invest in $163 million in 2011 for home telehealth to take advantage of the latest technological advancement in healthcare delivery. The VA’s home telehealth program cares for 35,000 patients and a recent study found that patients enrolled in home telehealth programs experienced a 25 percent reduction in the average number of days hospitalized and a 19 percent reduction in hospitalizations.

According to the Secretary, the Department’s IT operations and maintenance program supports 334,000 users situated in 1,400 healthcare facilities, 57 regional offices, 158 national cemeteries around the country, plus the IT program maintains 8.5 million vital health and benefit records for veterans. The FY 2011 budget provides $3.3 billion for IT, which is the same level of funding provided in 2010.

The IT resources requested would fund IT to process education claims, to help the Financial and Logistics Integrated Technology Enterprise project replace outdated technology, further develop the paperless claims processing system, and continue to develop the VA’s EHR system for $342.2 million.

Posted via web from Connected Care Solutions


Breakthrough and Telehealth's Tipping Point


 If you told me last year that web-base psychotherapy would gain traction I wouldn’t have believed you.  That was before I met Mark Goldenson, CEO of Breakthrough, a silicon valley based web startup that matches patient and therapist through a secure online portal.  Breakthrough clients can review a therapist’s qualifications and fees, view sample video, and initiate therapy by video or phone.

In a 2.0 world marked by clouds, hives and democratized healthcare, Breakthrough is cultivating one-on-one relationships through improved access to mental health services.  Everyone should be talking about this.

Goldenson made the TechCrunch 50 this past fall and maintained his continence before the likes of Tim O’Reilly, Kevin Rose and other tech luminaries.  You can check out the coverage in Wired and Forbes. 

The road to viable online teletherapy is littered with skeletons of those who were either ahead of the parade or didn’t have the technical support of Breakthrough.  But telehealth has reached a tipping point.  And Breakthrough may be there to seize the moment and tap the 2/3 of America’s 58 million with mental illness too stigmatized to seek help in person. 

I’d like to say I discovered Mark Goldenson but it was he who discovered me after I delivered a lunchtime keynote on social media at this year’s American Telemedicine Association meeting in Palm Springs.  He’s a pretty sharp guy.  And if the fervency of his questions is any measure of his capacity to lead, Breakthrough may be worth keeping and eye on. 

BreakThrough is continuing to move forward with its teletherapy model for matching psychiatric patients with specialists through streaming video connection. Most of the company's early successes have been the accolades lavished upon its CEO, Mark Goldenson, but little news has emerged about the Silicon Valley startup's experiences in the trenches. I would be particularly interested to hear about the company's experiences negotiating reimbursement with providers. More investigation seems to be in order, but its generally encouraging to see telehealth and telemedicine can play in Silicon Valley.

Posted via web from Connected Care Solutions


New Physician Adoption Statistics « Health IT Buzz

New Physician Adoption Statistics
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 | Posted by: Dr. David Blumenthal | Category: ONC

The CDC recently released its latest report on the adoption of electronic health records/electronic medical records (EHR/EMR) amongst office-based physicians from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. As a physician who trained and initially practiced in a time where nearly every order, record, and prescription was paper-based, the results are striking to me.

The final results for 2008 show about 16.7 percent of physicians reported having systems that met the criteria of a basic EHR/EMR system, and about 4.4 percent reported that of a fully functional system. Preliminary results for 2009 show about 20.5 percent reported having systems that met the criteria of a basic system, and 6.3 percent reported that of a fully functional system.

Combined basic and fully functional statistics for the last 3 years are as follows:

  • 2007 – 17%,
  • 2008 – 21%,
  • Preliminary 2009 – 27%

The latest figures, especially the preliminary 2009 numbers, suggest that the pace of adoption of HIT is quickening. We expect that the federal government’s health IT strategy will accelerate the pace even further by systematically addressing the obstacles physicians experience in adopting health IT (see below).


The Obama administration believes health information technology (HIT) is a critical component of efforts to improve the quality, efficiency, and value of care delivered to patients. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is leading the administration’s efforts to support the thoughtful application of HIT. Cognizant of the numerous barriers that exist to making health IT work in real-world settings, the ONC is administering programs to systematically address these barriers:

Financial Resources Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Program: incentive payments to “meaningful users” who use health information technology to improve value and efficiency of care delivered to patients
Technical Assistance Regional Extension Centers: Up to 70 regional extension centers (REC) will help providers through the process of selecting and implementing electronic health records $643 Million

The vision of a health care system that uses information technology to improve the value of services to patients is inching closer towards reality.

The ONC is committed to making the transition to electronic health records successful for every physician and hospital.

I hope you will share the experiences, challenges, and success stories that belie these encouraging statistics.

– David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P. – National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, David Blumenthal, MD, blogs about physician adoption of electronic health records, a subject on which he has long been the go-to authority. With merely 27% of physicians deploying a fully functional EHR, its now up to Blumenthal to find real solutions and strategies for stimulating widespread adoption. So far his ideas and initiatives have been promising.

Posted via web from Connected Care Solutions


Video Conferencing saving lives in Irish Hospitals

Claire O’Connell in the Irish Times has an interesting article on how a stroke patient at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar received urgent and potentially life-saving treatment on Sunday after a consultant at another hospital used the RP-7 (the “Remote Presence Robot” pictured below) to assess her remotely and prescribe clot-busting medication.

“The patient, who had a stroke just after noon, was collected by ambulance and was at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar by 1.30pm. She was assessed by Prof Des O’Neill at Tallaght Hospital using the RP-7, which also allowed him to talk with her, examine her scans and discuss treatment with members of the medical team in Mullingar. The patient was on clot-busting medication by 2.40pm and her condition improved in half an hour”

Prof O’Neill commented on this first with a reminder of the short time window there is for putting suitable patients on potentially life-saving thrombolytic drugs; “The key challenge is to get people to have their clot-busting drug within three hours of a stroke.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 10:42 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted via web from Connected Care Solutions

Federal Telemedicine News: Grant Announcement Posted

Grant Announcement Posted

HRSA recently posted their “Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grant Program” announcement seeking rural providers ready to implement quality improvement strategies. The plan is to help improve patient care and chronic disease outcomes for diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease. The grant’s goal is to help rural primary care providers achieve these goals by using the Chronic Care Model along with Electronic Patient Registries (EPR).

Both the EHR and EPR are electronic systems, but the EPR captures information that is population-based with data on specific conditions. This grant program does not support funding for an EHR, but healthcare providers who currently have an EHR are still eligible to participate in the program.

Some of the previous grantees have used their experience working with EPRs as a stepping stone to electronic medical records adoption. These grantees also have interests in the medical home model to help spread and sustain their quality improvement initiatives that go beyond chronic disease tracking to disease prevention. Grantees have also developed business case models to help sustain their quality improvement initiatives.

The program will provide funding during FY 2010-2012. Approximately $6,000,000 is expected to be available annually and to fund up to 60 grantees. Applicants can request up to $100,000 per year. Funding beyond the first year is dependent on the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years.

Applicants must be a rural public or rural non-profit private entity and must not have previously received a grant for the Rural Quality Grant Program or a similar project. Examples of eligible entities include rural health clinics, critical access hospitals, small rural hospitals, and Federally Qualified Health Centers. For profit Rural Health Centers and Critical Access Hospitals may also apply.

Eligible applicants must also meet at least one of these three requirements:

• Applicants must be located in a rural area
• Applicants exist exclusively to provide services to migrant and seasonal farm workers in rural areas
• Applicant is a Tribal government where grant funded activities will be conducted within their Federally recognized Tribal area

The application is due March 15, 2010. For more information, go to http://www.grants.gov/ or contact Elizabeth Rezaizadeh, Program Coordinator by email at erezai@hrsa.gov or call (301) 443-410.

Posted via web from Connected Care Solutions