S&R Blog

Will the Mac Tablet revolutionize EMRs?
January 7, 2010, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

After a lull of about 6 months the Mac Tablet buzz has started to heat up again with Apple announcing its release for March. Like the iPhone before it, the medical community has started to hail the Mac Tablet as a revolutionary healthcare device, most notably for electronic medical records (EMRs). Ease-of-use has been a primary barrier to EMR adoption, so Apple – known for intuitive design and usability – would be welcomed by physicians.

The EMR possibilities for the Mac Tablet  have been covered in depth through an article at Softwareadvice.

“The Ultimate EMR User Interface
An Apple tablet would be the ultimate UI for electronic medical records. With a touch-screen display like the iPhone, using the EMR during an encounter would be simplified. For example, selecting an evaluation and management (E&M) code could be as easy as “dialing in” the code with a swipe of a finger…”

But are EMRs really making life for physicians easier? And will the Mac Tablet help? This video begs to differ.


Novartis+IBM+Vodafone=brilliant ‘SMS for Life’ program
December 16, 2009, 4:32 pm
Filed under: mobile, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

A unique partnership between Vodafone, IBM, and Novartis has successfully launched a mobile health initiative that truly makes a difference in the treatment of malaria in remote areas of Tanzania. The SMS for Life program uses a combination of mobile phones, SMS (Short Messaging Service) technologies and intuitive web sites to track and manage the supply of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) drugs and Quinine injectables, both of which are key to reducing the number of deaths from malaria.

During the first few weeks of the pilot, the number of health facilities with stock-outs in one district alone, was reduced by over 75 percent. The early success of the SMS for Life pilot project has the Tanzanian authorities interested in implementing the solution across the rest of the country. Tanzania has around 5,000 clinics, hospitals and dispensaries, but at any one time, as many as half could potentially be out of stock of anti-malarial drugs.

Kudos to all those involved for making this happen. We can only hope that other drug companies continue to think of new and innovative ways  technology can improve patient outcomes.

Full press release below via IBM.

LONDON – 14 Dec 2009: A new solution developed by IBM (NYSE: IBM), Novartis and Vodafone with the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, is helping to save lives using everyday technology to improve the availability of anti-malarial drugs in remote areas of Tanzania

Called “SMS for Life,” the initiative uses a combination of mobile phones, SMS (Short Messaging Service) technologies and intuitive web sites to track and manage the supply of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) drugs and Quinine injectables, both of which are key to reducing the number of deaths from malaria.

The mosquito-borne disease causes nearly one million deaths in Africa each year, mostly among pregnant women and young children, and many people die because they simply lack quick access to vital medication.


Tanzanian child helped by SMS for life program and IBM LotusLive.com cloud computing (Click on photo for print-quality version).

The concept of using text messaging to improve stock management of life-saving medicines was developed by pharmaceutical company Novartis and a team of international students taking part in IBM’s internship program, Extreme Blue. The team came up with SMS for Life, as it relies on simple technology and fosters self-sufficiency. IBM was tasked with managing the overall project and Vodafone was invited to develop and manage a system based on simple SMS messaging that would help ensure dispensaries did not run out of vital stock.

After visits to clinics, hospitals and dispensaries across Tanzania, IBM, Novartis and Vodafone initiated a five-month pilot of the SMS for Life solution, covering 135 villages and over a million people in different geographic locations across Tanzania.

Vodafone, together with its technology partner MatsSoft, developed a system in which healthcare staff at each facility receives automated SMS messages, which prompt them to check the remaining stock of anti-malarial drugs each week. Using toll-free numbers, staff reply with an SMS to a central database system hosted in the United Kingdom, providing details of stock levels, and deliveries can be made before supplies run out at local health centres.

“This is an example of a truly innovative solution helping solve a humanitarian problem,” says Peter Ward of IBM, SMS for Life Project Manager. “After spending time on the ground, we created a project plan, developed the application with Vodafone and Novartis and established the best way to deliver the pilot, working with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health. We expect other countries will also be able to benefit in the future.”

“Vodafone has worked closely with IBM, Novartis and MatsSoft, to develop a simple, robust and innovative system that is able to deliver even in the most remote African communities,” said Dr. Dianne Sullivan, Scientific Adviser, Mobile Health, of Vodafone. “The SMS for Life solution shows the tremendous potential of mobile technology to deliver social good through lateral thinking by helping to ensure supplies of life-saving drugs.”

During the first few weeks of the pilot, the number of health facilities with stock-outs in one district alone, was reduced by over 75 percent. The early success of the SMS for Life pilot project has the Tanzanian authorities interested in implementing the solution across the rest of the country. Tanzania has around 5,000 clinics, hospitals and dispensaries, but at any one time, as many as half could potentially be out of stock of anti-malarial drugs.

“The SMS for Life program has already had a positive effect in Tanzania,” says Senior Health Officer with Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania, Winfred Mwafongo. “I’ve seen district medical officers ordering urgent stock replacements for various health facilities. During a visit to 19 rural health facilities in one district alone, I saw huge improvements in their inventory management systems. I’m very impressed with the results so far and look forward to following the rest of the pilot through to completion.”

“Collaboration is critical to tackle health problems of the developing world, and we are proud to be part of the SMS for Life partnership, a project that will reduce stock-outs, and ensure that mothers and their young children in Africa have access to life-saving anti-malarial medicines,” says Silvio Gabriel, Executive Vice President and Head of the Malaria Initiatives at Novartis.

Designed as a public and private partnership leveraging the skills and resources of several companies, SMS for Life could have far-reaching implications for existing health systems worldwide. Several other African states are already keen to introduce the project.

Saving Lives with SMS for Life

Malaria Clinic in Tanzania helped by SMS for Life and IBM LotusLive.com cloud computing.  Copyright: Olympia Wereko-Brobby. Click on photo for print-quality version.

About the RBM Global Partnership
The RBM Partnership is the global coordinator of the fight against malaria. RBM draws its strength and experience from hundreds of partners from malaria endemic countries, country donors, companies, non-governmental and community organisations, foundations and research and academic institutions. RBM partners’ collective aim is to reduce annual malaria deaths from around one million to virtually zero by 2015 through the implementation of the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP). This outlines RBM’s vision for a substantial and sustained reduction in the burden of malaria in the near and mid-term, and the eventual global eradication of malaria in the long term with the introduction of new tools. www.rollbackmalaria.org

About IBM
For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com.

About Novartis
Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in each of these areas. In 2008, the Group’s continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 41.5 billion and net income of USD 8.2 billion. Approximately USD 7.2 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 99,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

About Vodafone
Vodafone is the world’s leading international mobile communications group with approximately 323 million proportionate customers as at 30 September 2009. Vodafone currently has equity interests in 31 countries across five continents and around 40 partner networks worldwide. For more information, please visit www.vodafone.com.

78 percent of US interested in mobile healthcare solutions
October 19, 2009, 3:57 pm
Filed under: mobile | Tags: , , , , , ,

Attention healthcare industry! Mobile healthcare solutions will be a reality sooner than you think. And we aren’t talking about just blood pressure monitoring apps, but full-blown health services.

According to a new study conducted by wireless industry association CTIA with Harris Interactive, a vast majority of the US (78%) is interested in mobile health solutions and 15 percent of the U.S. is extremely or very interested in learning more about mHealth.

The study used a combination of two online studies of U.S. adults (5,563) and physicians (115 general practitioners and 129 specialists) to gauge their interest in mHealth service options.  Survey respondents felt that access to mHealth would allow for more home-based care (68%), make medical care easier to obtain (51%), and give patients more freedom and choice (51%). More highlights are below.

mHealth Today

mHealth Appeal

mHealth Appeal

Read the full report here.

25 things every pharma product manager should know before creating a marketing plan for 2010 and beyond
October 9, 2009, 2:52 pm
Filed under: advertising, behavior | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Plus a few more. If you are a non-believer in the effect of social media on the media landscape check out socialnomics. If you are a believer, then what you may not know is how other mediums are changing for the better or worse. Introducing, Did you know 4.0.

No longer a fantasy. Healthcare enters the realm of augmented reality.
September 1, 2009, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

With the advent of mobile augmented reality apps and developers like Layar, what was once just a pipe dream in the minds of marketers just a few months ago is now a wide open canvas for innovation.  Recently, we discussed how healthcare could benefit immensely from the new augmented reality technology that was being developed for Android and the iPhone. And it looks like that day has arrived, according to a new interview Mobile Health News had with the developers of  Layar about new healthcare aps being developed for their augmented reality platform. Some of the key exchanges are below.

Are there any healthcare or related Layars currently available?

In the beginning, we launched in Holland and one of our original launch partners was Zekur.nl, which is a local healthcare provider. They have a specific health insurance offering, which is only available over the Internet and it is cheap because they only contract out their healthcare services to specific providers. So you can only go to “that” chiropractor and not the other one. In order to facilitate this and give their patients insights into which provider they can go to — they built one of the first Layars with us to point people to where they can go. This company is also very young so they needed the marketing push this platform would give them. The various healthcare providers covered by their insurance are what you can find [if you toggle] their Layar. That’s one of the first healthcare use cases.

Secondly, we have a general hospital Layar in Japan that enables users to point their phone in any direction and it shows them on their camera screen the closest hospitals or emergency rooms in that direction. This is like a healthcare directory service. Also, in Japan and in Holland there is a Layar that allows users to find the nearest AED, [which is an “automated external defibrillator” — a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation.] These are machines in public places that people can use on people who have heart attacks.

OK, I can see that service as being potentially useful — what’s next? Beyond just finding things through your mobile camera — how else can this platform better health or wellbeing? What other opportunities do you see?

Well, you know that I am a cancer survivor, right? So for me that is a good subject always and I know the Livestrong Foundation has a new campaign where you can make what’s called a Dedication Page. I made a Dedication Page for my wife, who was great to me and I express that through my Dedication Page. It is a great way to really capture that and to make other people aware of what people do in that circumstance. Those pages also include location information, so that could make a great Layar, where you could go to a Livestrong Dedication Layar and see, literally, how much “cancer” is all around you. I mean that in a good way — the Layar could make people aware of how much of an impact something like cancer has. Maybe as a part of that Layar you could make a donation or send flowers to someone, but really just to raise awareness and help people lend support, this Layar would be very effective. I didn’t know how much there was out there before I got sick. It’s good to put that information out there because for those who have it can know that they are not alone. I have emailed them, but I haven’t heard back yet.

Another way is for an epidemic type thing, which it may or may not be true for the H1N1, but you could use Layar to pinpoint where cases of [the H1N1 swine flue have been diagnosed], those may be areas that you might want to avoid.

One of the biggest challenges, especially in healthcare, is knowing where to go once you are in the hospital. This is more of a future application — we are not doing this yet — but say, you have an appointment with your specialist: Those are very expensive appointments so you need to make sure people know how to get there. Layar could point you to which door you should take to get you to the place you need to be in. This is not possible now, but I see it as a common use case for the future.

Read the full interview here.

Is pharma ready for the biggest shift since the industrial revolution?

I think so. Welcome to the world of socialnomics.

Want to avoid the swine flu? There’s an app for that.
August 11, 2009, 7:25 pm
Filed under: mobile | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

With news that Sanofi-Aventis has submitted a supplemental application with the FDA to get a license for its influenza A (H1N1) monovalent vaccine, it’s the perfect time to revisit what other apps (smartphone) have been submitted for review for help against the H1N1 virus.

Back in April, the swine flu craze was taking the world by storm, and useful applications and interactive tools were being introduced on a daily basis to make sure that the world was kept in a state of calm/paranoia.  Although some are more useful than others, the results prove that creative and effective tools can be developed for healthcare issues in record time.

Here are some of the contenders:


Swine Flu Tracker – An iPhone app developed by IntuApps allows you to see the current Threat Level for the disease, a map showing confirmed and suspected cases, a symptoms area to inform people, and an alert page for breaking news on Swine Flu.

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Swine Flu Map – An iPhone app developed by Andrea Albani displays the current spread of the H1N1 virus on a map and allows you to view global and local locations to pinpoint specific cases.

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Maps and trends

Google Flu Trends – A trends tool which uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity up to two weeks faster than traditional systems.

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Health Map – Interactive map that tracks the latest world-wide swine flu outbreaks through the use of Google Maps.

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Swine Flu Twitter Tracker – Allows you to track  the latest swine flu outbreaks using real-time Tweets and Goggle Maps.

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