Roundup: Launches, deals and more announcements from HIMSS19

An updating collection of news released during this year's global health IT conference.
By Dave Muoio
04:12 pm

Photo by Oscar & Associates

This week saw the kickoff of HIMSS19, and the MobiHealthNews staff was on site to interview industry leaders and catch the latest insights from a range of health and tech experts. While the majority of MobiHealthNews' stories and videos from the show floor can be found on our HIMSS19 conference coverage page, there was no shortage of digital product launches, deals and other announcement headlines throughout the week — see below for a collection of conference news that will be continuously updated over the next few days.

Healthcare collaboration platform Updox debuted a live video chat service for telehealth visits and other patient engagement use cases. The new service is included within the mobile Updox Engagement Suite, and is HIPAA compliant.

“Updox now provides live video on just the right scale that providers need, and they can use it right from the same place they text. It’s as simple as making a phone call,” Updox CEO Michael Morgan said in a statement. “There is no [new] app to download. No learning curves. It’s a mobile communications channel that people are already comfortable using, and now it’s HIPAA-compliant for healthcare.”

Santa Clara-based connected health startup VivaLNK announced a new cloud-based platform for its wearable medical sensors. Available through the VivaLNK Developer Program, the company’s Sensor Platform collects and delivers data from connected devices so that it can be analyzed or integrated with other applications. Currently, Vitalic Medical is among the partners using the new platform to develop its own service.

"The launch of our Sensor Platform is instrumental in helping solution partners accelerate

medical and healthcare innovation to market, especially within crucial therapeutic areas such as cardiology, cancer, chronic disease and more," Jiang Li, CEO at VivaLNK, said in a statement. “To have a more complete picture of patient health, applications and algorithms not only need access to data, but a variety of relevant data that can be used to correlate and accurately assess and predict health situations.”

The show brought news of new healthcare-focused Google Cloud partnerships — one with healthcare IT security company Imprivata, and the other with FlyWheel.

Chrome devices will now support Imprivata OneSign, the company’s single sign-on and virtual desktop access tool that keeps providers from repeatedly inputting security credentials.

“While Imprivata delivers fast, secure access to patient information, Google Cloud offers mobile solutions like Chrome Enterprise that let healthcare practitioners access workstations on the go,” Wes Wright, CTO at Imprivata, said in a statement. “Working with Google Cloud, we’re able to give practitioners instant access to their virtual desktop environment, and allow patients to access entertainment and education on Chrome devices without risking exposure of protected health information.”

On the clinical research side, Flywheel announced new support for Google’s Cloud Healthcare API within its platform. With this, the company’s image, data, and research coordination platform incorporates BigQuery and AutoML to provide users with data analytics and machine learning services, respectively.

“With our partners at Google Cloud, we are delivering an innovative research platform to meet the needs of imaging center directors, principal investigators and clinical research institutions seeking to establish a scalable infrastructure for machine learning, advanced imaging research, and secure collaboration to advance science and, ultimately, precision medicine,” Flywheel CEO Travis Richardson said in a statement.


Blockchain is at the heart of a new partnership announced by Boehringer Ingelheim and IBM Canada. According to an announcement, the two companies are hoping to apply the decentralized technology in a way that will improve data integrity, provenance, transparency and patient empowerment. IBM will be providing the core blockchain technology, while Boehringer Ingelheim handles trial implementation.

“Our guiding philosophy is to bring value to patients and the healthcare system through innovation,” Dr. Uli Brödl, VP of medical and regulatory affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd., said in a statement. “The clinical trial ecosystem is highly complex as it involves different stakeholders, resulting in limited trust, transparency and process inefficiencies without true patient empowerment. Patients are at the heart of everything we do, so we are looking into novel solutions to improve patient safety and empowerment.”

Philips came to this year’s HIMSS conference prepped with a raft of announcements. Chief among these were three announcements regarding its IntelliSpace product line: the launch of IntelliSpace Epidemiology, the release of IntelliSpace Cardiovascular version 4.1 and a new implementation within the Baptist Health South Florida system.

The former is a new product that supports detection of healthcare-associated infections by bringing together clinical informatics and genomic sequencing data.

"Solutions that can bring together information on healthcare associated infections from across a hospital are vitally important to identifying and stopping infection transmissions before they progress and become dangerous to patients and care teams," said Felix Baader, business leader of monitoring and analytics at Philips, said in a statement. "With IntelliSpace Epidemiology, we're building on our leadership in clinical informatics and patient monitoring to support our overarching commitment to patient safety by piecing together all of this information to support the efficient identification of healthcare associated infections."

Meanwhile, the cardiovascular product’s update introduces an integration with Philips Forcare to better facilities cross-system patient data sharing, while also building on the platform’s existing reporting capabilities with increased support for pediatric patients.

“Treating pediatric cardiac patients can be a very emotional and challenging experience as they are one of the most vulnerable patient populations,” Amir Hasan, business leader of cardiology informatics at Philips, said in a statement. “With IntelliSpace Cardiovascular 4.1, we build on our commitment to provide fast and seamless data flow to enable clinicians to better care for these children with improved information access, data sharing and collaboration across the entire cardiology team.”

Finally, the technology company also highlighted the recent implementation of its IntelliSpace Precision Medicine Genomics service at Baptist Health South Florida’s Miami Cancer Institute. Following a multiyear agreement, the platform will support Miami’s genomics laboratory and assist providers in their clinical decision making.

Uber Health and on-demand ambulatory service Ambulnz have announced a new integration that will help providers arrange non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) for their patients. By implementing the Uber Health API into Ambulnz’s platform, users can schedule Uber’s NEMT service from within the Ambulnz interface and, in cities where they are available, also request one of Uber’s assistive driver options.

“At Uber, we are committed to helping healthcare organizations remove transportation as a barrier to care—and that extends to partnering with innovative companies on solutions that move care forward,” Dan Trigub, head of business development for Uber Health, said in a statement. “With access to different types of Uber Health and Ambulnz rides in a centralized place, healthcare providers can spend more time focused on patients instead of the tools and technology to get them where they need to go at exactly the right moment.”

AARP and GetWellNetwork are coming together to produce how-to videos for family caregivers that are accessible in the hospital setting. Designed with the CARE Act in mind, the partners’ Family Caregiver Features includes 16 videos (produced by the Home Alone Alliance) and allows for the designation of a caregiver directly within a patient’s medical record.

“Making these videos available in the hospital setting will help both family caregivers and hospitals,” Susan Reinhard, SVP and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, said in a statement. “Caregivers can learn what they need to do to care for their loved ones at home and hospitals can help avoid unnecessary readmissions.”

Medical communications company Spok has announced a new suite of tools for its Spok Care Connect platform here at HIMSS19 in Orlando, Florida.

Among these are Spok Go, a multidevice app for care team messaging; Spok Conduct, a cloud-based workflow engine with clinical alerting and alarm management support; and Spok Navigate, a tool for operators that helps guide patients and their caregivers through their encounters with a health system. Spok Go and Spok Conduct are now available to customers, while Spok Navigate is coming soon. 

“Our experience supporting more than 1,900 hospitals across the US has helped us create a solution that positions healthcare providers for success today and supports them with faster, smarter clinical communications for the next decade,” Hemant Goel, president of Spok, said in a statement. “This latest evolution of our communication technology will allow our customers to leverage integrations to their existing Spok suite of solutions, while keeping security in the forefront.”

Telehealth platform company American Well unveiled the American Well 250 cart, a telehealth cart that allows physicians and patients in a hospital to connect to a wide range of specialists.

When a physician logs onto the 250 cart and requests a specialist, American Well will search for the first available doctor and send a ping to their smartphone in a process Schoenberg compared to how Uber assigns drivers. It will cycle through available specialists until one answers. In addition, the cart contains a suite of connected devices that the remote specialist can use to gather information and consult. And in addition to in-hospital use cases, it can be used in schools and skilled nursing facilities.

“It’s the first cart that says if you need to beam in service from somewhere inside your ecosystem, it supports that,” American Well CEO Roy Schoenberg told MobiHealthNews in an on-site interview at HIMSS.

Additionally at the show, American Well announced an expanded partnership with behavioral health-focused EHR provider Netsmart.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that [the opioid-addicted] population, more than anybody else, is very hard to catch,” Schoenberg said. “The moment that they’re interested in seeking treatment, if you’re not going to be there, you’re going to lose them. So opioid telehealth management is a very big part of the hope of the administration and everybody else.”


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