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DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Microsoft developing health chatbot platform — Lifespan aims to cut $182 million in costs …

Welcome to Digital Health Briefing, a new morning email providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem, produced by BI Intelligence.

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MICROSOFT IS TESTING ITS NEW HEALTH CHATBOT PLATFORM: The tech giant is developing the platform as a part of its Healthcare NExT program and has partnered with Aurora Health Care to create the Aurora Digital Assistant, a new chatbot service that aims to demonstrate how digital assistants can benefit not only patients but healthcare providers and networks, too. Currently, the platform is being privately previewed to Microsoft’s new partners.

Microsoft hopes the service will help make it easier for users to access medical info from their smartphones. Aurora patients can “text” the digital assistant in a conversational manner via an app, answering a series of questions relating to their ailment. The assistant uses these responses to determine the type of care the patient may need and when they need it. The patient can then use the app to schedule an appointment with an appropriate doctor.

For healthcare providers, AI-integrated services, like chatbots, are showing great potential to make healthcare more efficient. They can help cut costs associated with processes including triage, admissions, reimbursements, and others. For example, insurers can use chatbots to make it easier for potential and existing customers to look up plans, or the status of a claim. Healthcare providers could save just over four minutes per inquiry by 2022 or $8 billion in savings, according to Juniper research. That’s up from $20 million in 2017.

Although the current utility of chatbots in healthcare is limited, there is growing interest from a range of US medical providers that have shown interest in Microsoft’s efforts. These include Premier Blue Cross, the largest health plan in Pacific Northwest, and UPMC, a leading US integrated healthcare delivery network, according to Microsoft.

LIFESPAN PARTNERS WITH GE HEALTHCARE TO CUT COSTS: Lifespan, the Rhode Island-based hospital system, is partnering with GE Healthcare in an effort to reduce $182 million in costs over the next six years. In what is being dubbed a shared-risk model, GE Healthcare will only be paid once certain outcomes are achieved. These outcomes likely fall under improving patient flow, increasing capacity for services, decreasing wait times, improving efficiencies, and ultimately reducing costs. In order to achieve these outcomes, GE Healthcare plans to lean heavily on digital health technology, including data analytics and tools. This is GE Healthcare’s fifth shared-risk model partnership in the US – all of which were initiated in recent months. This appears to be part of two growing trends. Hospitals are beginning to adjust to the digitization of the healthcare system by adopting the latest technologies. However, they are also not completely sold that these technologies can achieve all of the positive outcomes being marketed which explains the shared-risk model.

HITACHI AND PARTNERS HEALTHCARE TO USE AI TO LOWER HOSPITAL READMISSIONS:Japanese technology company Hitachi has partnered with Partners Healthcare’s Connected Health group to develop artificial intelligence (AI) powered tools to predict and prevent hospital readmission in patients with heart failure, according toHIT Consultant. The AI algorithm that they developed uses a form of machine learning that can highlight critical factors that lead it to identify a patient as being at high risk for readmission. This gives hospital personnel the opportunity to take steps to mitigate that risk. Researchers working on the algorithm tested it by using it on data from over 12,000 heart failure patients who were discharged, comparing its predictions to what actually happened. Preventing hospital readmissions is a critical metric for hospitals – too high a readmission rate can lead to penalties under the Affordable Care Act and can cost payerswell over $10,000 per incident. Using AI-powered tools to prevent readmissions can help hospitals and insurers to reduce costs and improve outcomes.

MERCY JOINS AVIA INNOVATOR NETWORK TO IMPROVE INNOVATION: Mercy Health, the largest health system in Ohio, announced that it has joined the AVIA Innovator Network to gain insights into digital innovation. AVIA is a network of over 24 health systems across the US and the UK that have partnered to accelerate the identification, adoption, and circulation of highly impactful digital strategies. Through these collaborations, AVIA has been able to create a field-tested methodology to enable health systems to develop an innovation blueprint. While only 10% of providers and payers were actively executing digital transformation initiatives as of March, that number is expected to reach 42% among providers in the next year, according to an IDC survey cited by HealthcareITNews.

In other news…

  • The FCC voted to repeal 2015’s Open Internet Order, which established net neutrality regulations on Thursday, according to TechCrunch. The decision will likely impact the deployment of telemedicine in the US, however, parties disagree whether the effects will be positive or negative.
  • MassChallenge, a non-profit startup accelerator, has named 32 startups to participate in PULSE 2018, its digital health program, AmericanInno reports. The program aims to partner startups with healthcare institutions, systems, and payers to better achieve milestone goals.

Commentary: The Top 3 Digital Health Trends to Watch In 2018

Digital health broke out in 2017. We saw more investment than ever before: Over $4.7 billion flowed into a record number of companies. While these record-breaking investments underscore the enthusiasm for new digital health solutions, another revolution was quietly happening just outside the spotlight.

Earlier generations of innovation began to make a real impact in both the patient and physician experience. There was also widespread recognition in the provider community that health care simply can’t continue to lag years behind the rest of the world in the speed of IT adoption. This is the basis for some of the biggest trends we see taking shape and making a significant impact in 2018:

Telemedicine is taking off—for real this time

Remotely diagnosing and treating patients via telemedicine (the use of telecommunication and IT to provide health care) will grow fiercely in 2018 and impact nearly all facets of health care. More doctors will be able to see more patients in a much shorter timeframe, irrespective of their physical locations. As telemedicine adoption expands, it will be driven by stronger electronic health record (EHR) integration, and the growth of urgent care operations.

Patients will see big benefits. Telemedicine will provide greater convenience and better access. Patients won’t have to take time away from work to be seen by a doctor, and those located in rural areas—where physician shortages are very real—will enjoy similar access to high-quality care regardless of where they live.

Data (sharing) will become standard in clinical settings

Big Data will change monitoring and treatment, as information from wearables and other medical devices gets integrated directly into the EHR. Wearable fitness devices that track heart rate, sleep activity, and other vital statistics will now give physicians far more insight into their patients’ day-to-day health status and chronic conditions, and ultimately help them provide better care.

Tech giants like Apple made big, early bets in this area, and they are starting to pay off. For example, the Apple Watch recently received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for mobile heart rate monitoring, and shortly after, Apple announced a large-scale atrial fibrillation study to be conducted in partnership with Stanford Medicine.

Consumer tech brands will continue to drive this adoption within the health care system. EHR vendors have scientifically invested in this area, and large institutions such as the University of California are developing interoperability standards for device data across campuses. With this foundation, we’ll see more progress in this area than ever before in 2018.

Health care closes the “AI gap”

We will see AI play a more significant role in diagnosing conditions. Whether it’s used in radiology software to transform medical imaging diagnostics for radiologists or in the emergency room to quickly diagnose the nine most common emergency medical conditions, AI and algorithm-driven diagnostics will prove the power of processing in-depth health data in real time. Next year, we will see fewer AI fails and more AI wins than in years past.

In 2018, one thing will remain constant: The digital health field will continue to grow. We will see more of the consumer technology already in use merge with patient care, as measurables such as heart rate, blood sugar levels, and sleeping trends can be tracked with gadgets from brands like Apple, Fitbit, and Dario. The longer-term development of AI still needs work. But eventually we will see a more cohesive relationship form between doctors and health technology that ultimately improves patient care.

Amit Phull is the medical director at Doximity.

DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: NYP, Walgreens launch telemedicine service — Cybercriminals continue to target health …


Welcome to Digital Health Briefing, a new morning email
providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital
technology is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem, produced by BI
Intelligence.



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NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN, WALGREENS PARTNER FOR
TELEMEDICINE:
A partnership between New
York-Presbyterian (NYP) and Walgreens is pushing telemedicine
further into the mainstream. NYP
announced
Monday that its physicians will be accessible
remotely for non-life-threatening illnesses through Walgreens’
online portal and self-service kiosks at select Walgreen-owned
Duane Reade locations in New York.

The partnership is an expansion of NYP’s OnDemand
platform for telehealth and mHealth services, which was launched
in 2016.
For $99 per session, patients can visit secure,
private kiosks to be examined by doctors via video chat. The
kiosks are also fitted with connected devices for examinations,
including blood pressure cuffs, forehead thermometers, and
dermascopes. Doctors can also send prescriptions to the patient’s
preferred pharmacy.

The service was initially being trialed as a way to
triage emergency patients visiting hospitals in NYP’s
network.
 Since its introduction, the service
has shown incremental reductions in the average amount of time
spent in emergency rooms,
according
to NYP chief transformation officer Dr. Peter
Fleischut. 

NYP and Walgreens are the latest among a number hospitals
and pharmacies offering similar telemedicine services.

Hospital networks are using these telemedicine services to
increase their points of contact, add network reach, and grow
their brand name.  

  • BayCare Health System, based in Florida,
    partnered
    with Publix supermarkets in October 2017. The two
    companies plan to open 25 telehealth clinics at select Publix
    supermarket pharmacies within the next two years.
  • CVS Health and the Cleveland Clinic
    launched
    a similar service, called “MinuteClinics,” in Ohio
    in April 2016 and have been expanding ever since — as of
    December 4, there are more than 1,100 MinuteClinic locations.

This isn’t Walgreen’s first endeavor into telehealth, but
it does signify an evolution and expansion of the company’s
efforts.
The pharmacy began
working
with MDLive to provide 24-hour access to US-board
certified doctors in 2014. And in 2013, Walgreens’ launched
Pharmacy Chat, giving customers the ability to reach Walgreen
Pharmacists around the clock. The latest addition means that
patients can use Walgreens as a full end-to-end doctor visit,
increasing the time and frequency customers are spending
in-store.



d3c11_image002 DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: NYP, Walgreens launch telemedicine service — Cybercriminals continue to target health ...

NYP

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PATIENT DATA CONTINUES TO BE A TARGET
OF CRIMINALS:
Health data breaches have become an
increasingly common occurrence in the healthcare industry. The
sensitive nature of patient data collected by healthcare
providers, which could include names, addresses, social security
numbers, payment information, and health records, has made it an
appealing target for cybercriminals. Just recently, the
University of North Carolina
Health Care’s Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, the Pulmonary
Specialists of Louisville, and New Jersey’s Hackensack Sleep and
Pulmonary Center
all reported breaches that may have
compromised over 72,000 patient records.
Moreover, 
83% of US physicians have reportedly
experienced some form of a cybersecurity attack, according to a new survey
released by 
Accenture and
the 
American Medical
Association
 (AMA). If providers want to curtail
these cyber attacks they must move beyond just complying with
HIPAA safety standards, instead, they must proactively invest in
the most up to date security technology and constantly educate
staff on new processes.



d3c11_image002 DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: NYP, Walgreens launch telemedicine service — Cybercriminals continue to target health ...

BI
Intelligence

PHILIPS ADDS TO ITS POPULATION MANAGEMENT PORTFOLIO WITH
LATEST ACQUISITION:
Technology company Philips has
acquired VitalHealth, the provider of a cloud-based
population health management solution, for an undisclosed sum,
according to
WebWire. VitalHealth has developed several tools, including
a portfolio of telehealth apps and a care
coordination platform, to improve patient engagement, care
coordination, and analytics for more than 100 healthcare networks
that use its services. For Philips, this follows the 2016
acquisition of
 population health
management solution provider Wellcentive, which gave the
firm access to an informatics platform that enabled networks to
improve the way they aggregated and analyzed data across health
systems. The combination of these portfolios will give Philips
the ability to offer stronger solutions for managing patient
populations and in turn, capture a piece of a growing
market  — the population health
management market is expected to reach $42.5 billion by 2021
from $13.9 billion in 2016, according to
MarketsandMarkets. 

NOKIA AIMS TO GIVE CONSUMERS MORE CONTROL OVER
THEIR HEALTH DATA:
Nokia plans to use blockchain to
improve consumers’ level of trust in managing health data,
according to the company’s
blog
. The communications giant partnered with OP Financial
Group, a financial services group based in Finland, to launch a
pilot to “explore new opportunities” in digital health, which
includes investigating ways blockchain can give consumers greater
control over their health data, such as who can access it and how
it can be used. The pilot will begin with 100 participants
sharing daily steps and sleep data recorded by Nokia’s Steel HR,
the company’s HR monitor smartwatch. That data will be shared
with OP Financial via an app that’s been encrypted through the
blockchain. Users will be rewarded based on achieving fitness
goals. The two companies hope that the trial will demonstrate the
viability of using the blockchain for health data, and assuage
any fears consumers and businesses might have over the security
and transparency of how and by whom this data is being accessed
and used. 

Growing senior care market offers opportunity for digital health

Increasing adoption of technology, the rise of remote care, and a growing number of smart living services available to the mass market are among the several ongoing trends transforming aging care, according to a newly released report from HealthXL and AARP.

These developments and others provide players inside and out of healthcare a clear opportunity to improve the convenience and clinical outcomes of senior home living. However, the authors of the report wrote, to do so will require these players to more directly engage with seniors and their caregivers, design targeted offerings that are easy to use for any age group, and investigate alternative value and payment models.

“More innovators and investors are starting to realize the longer-term impact of the underlying demographic shifts that are occurring — not just in the US but globally,” Julie Carty, chief operating officer at HealthXL and one of the report’s coauthors, told MobiHealthNews. “In addition, aging solutions are being redefined to include everyday technology solutions (e.g., Lyft, BlueApron, Next, etc.) that enable a more independent and connected way of living, thereby expanding the universe of solutions that may have an impact.”

Although the convenience and ubiquity of these well-known offerings provide clear opportunities for seniors hoping to stay out of a care center, many of the larger names focus their marketing efforts on younger demographics, the authors wrote. Better acknowledging this growing senior market in promotional messaging and product design can lead to a substantial market opportunity, and help enable more seniors to remain at home. Conversely, new digital offerings targeting seniors that come from the healthcare space — including telehealth, medication management products, and care planning platforms — should take a cue from the mass market products and design products that stressing convenience.

“There is an increasing understanding that applying universal design principles to many product categories can ensure uptake by many segments of the population, including seniors,” coauthor Carlos Rodarte, founder and managing director of Volar Health and a HealthXL advisor, told MobiHealthNews.

So far, a substantial amount of money coming from the larger investment firms has been pumped into products with broad applications, often targeting multiple diseases or demographics, the authors noted. With senior care, however, there is still a clear market for more focused applications, so long as it offers a clear value proposition. Often, this value doesn’t always manifest as direct reimbursement, they noted, with many products requiring pilots or other investigations to demonstrate value through medication adherence, hospital readmissions, or other outcomes.

With this in mind, the report’s authors advised entrepreneurs and innovators to focus on clarifying their product’s distribution and revenue model when seeking investment, and to pursue strategic partnerships with professional organizations, health systems, payers, or others within the senior care ecosystem.

“As with many digital remote care solutions, a big concern is ensuring that the payment models follow suit and incentivize models of care that keep patients out of the hospital,” Rodarte said. “At a practical level, we also have to guard against situations where we assume that because we now enable remote care that the ‘job’ is done. In reality, these shifts mark the beginning of a new way of engaging with seniors in our communities.”

Widevine digital rights management explained

bc8a0_Netflix-HTC-10-AA-2-840x560 Widevine digital rights management explained

Many, including myself, were shocked to learn that the OnePlus 5T isn’t currently unable to stream HD content from video services like Google Play Movies, Netflix, and Amazon Video. You may have noticed similar problems when trying to watch videos on the highest quality settings from these services on desktop monitors or laptops, and possibly even a few other smartphones.

The reason for the lockout is that these services are protected by digital rights management (DRM), to prevent the copying and unauthorised redistribution of these video files. To trust that Android smartphone and many other devices are secure from piracy, these popular streaming services make use of Google’s Widevine DRM platform. As one of the industry’s oldest DRM services, it’s estimated to be installed on some 4 billion devices around the world.

Here’s what you need to know about Widevine and how it works.

How does Widevine work?

Widevine implements a selection of industry standards to protect content as it’s transferred over the internet and played back on devices. For a quick overview, it makes use of a combination of CENC encryption, licensing key exchange, and adaptive streaming quality to manage and send video to users. The idea is to simplify the amount of work on the service provider’s end, by supporting multiple levels of streaming quality based on the security capabilities of the receiving device.

To achieve this, Widevine protects content across three levels of security, simply named L3, L2, and L1. Your device will need to be certified to meet the full L1 specification if you want to stream HD content from services like Netflix.

bc8a0_Netflix-HTC-10-AA-2-840x560 Widevine digital rights management explained

ARM TrustZone technology within Cortex-A based application processors is commonly used to run trusted boot and a trusted OS to create a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), which separates DRM and other processes from potentially exploitable applications.

To meet security Level 1, all content processing, cryptography, and control must be performed within the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) of the device’s processor, to prevent external tampering and copying of the media file. All ARM Cortex-A processors implement TrustZone technology, creating a hardware separation that allows a trusted OS (such as Android) to create a TEE for DRM, and other secure applications.

Security Level 2 only requires that cryptography but not video processing be carried out inside the TEE. L3 applies either when the device doesn’t have a TEE or when processing is done outside of it. However, appropriate measures must still be taken to protect cryptography within the host operating system.

How Widevine is implemented

Android devices support either L1 or L3 security levels, depending on hardware and software implementations, as does Chrome OS. Chrome on desktops will only ever support L3 at maximum. If your device is only L3 compliant, you’re capped at sub-HD resolutions. Only L1 secure devices with processing taking place entirely in the TEE can play back HD or higher quality content from Widevine secured services.

Perhaps one of the most important points to note about Widevine is that it doesn’t charge a license fee in order to implement its protection technology. So there’s no financial reason why smartphones like the OnePlus 5T are missing out.

Widevine doesn’t charge a license fee. Instead, hardware manufacturers only need to pass a certification process.

Instead, hardware manufacturers only need to pass a certification process. This includes the completion of various legal agreements, implementation of some software libraries, and client integration testing to verify support, among other steps. Apparently this process is designed to be streamlined for easy adoption, and all chipsets used for Android smartphones support the necessarily technologies, so it’s only likely that manufacturer oversight or lack of testing time is to blame if smartphones aren’t compatible. 

Fortunately, it seems that it’s possible for smartphone OEMs to address any lack of compliance after release. OnePlus has promised that it will enable HD streaming from services like Netflix with an upcoming software update for the 5T.

bc8a0_Netflix-HTC-10-AA-2-840x560 Widevine digital rights management explained

Can my device stream HD content?

Unfortunately, you won’t find information about DRM conformity on many specification sheets, so knowing before purchasing a new phone is difficult. Most smartphones, especially in the flagship tier, will allow for HD streaming from Widevine powered services, even if the smartphone is a few generations old. Technically, all Android smartphones can support L1 Widevine security, but implementation mileage may vary with lower cost smartphones that may skimp on testing times.

If you want to check that your particular handset is compatible with Winevine, along with other popular DRM services, you can check out your smartphone’s level of support with apps like DRM Info, which is free to download from the Play Store. Simply scroll down to the Google Widevine DRM section and check what Security Level your device supports, just like in the image above.

If you’ve had problems streaming HD content from Netflix or Amazon Video, let us know in the comments below. 

Digital Debit Releases Android Version of Real-Time Bitcoin Payments App

DDG believes the opportunity to build Digital Debit® utilizing the global Bitcoin payment system provides an open and unparalleled infrastructure to build a true one-world digital currency ecosystem. DDG designed the Digital Debit® app with simplified features the company believes will better connect with new and experienced Bitcoin users, such as a single panel of operation for sending and receiving payments and showing users only the converted fiat currency value of their Bitcoin holdings. The company also designed an innovative visual confirmation system for successful transactions that allow the sender and receiver of Bitcoin to deal fast in rapid transaction environments such as in public venues, mobile food locations, passive donations, restaurants and courtesy tipping.

The company states that by leveraging the Coinbase API, the app will allow users to instantly purchase Bitcoin, load their linked accounts and seamlessly associate their Bitcoin values with other Bitcoin enabled products such as the Shift Visa card. Bitcoin values transferred through the Digital Debit® app using tokenized QR codes exchanges payment off-blockchain in real-time between registered Coinbase accounts. The app also supports legacy on-blockchain transactions, third party wallets and cash deposit Bitcoin ATM machines.

“We developed Digital Debit® for Android to provide a real-time Bitcoin payments solution to the majority of the world’s smartphone users” says Edward Robles, CEO of the Digital Debit Group. Robles further states, “we are delivering instant transactions with little to no fee which is exactly what’s needed for Bitcoin to be adopted for day to day use”.

The Digital Debit® app is available in all regions of the world with the exception of China in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

More information about Digital Debit® can be found at digitaldebit.com.

About Digital Debit Group:

Digital Debit Group is a division of Qondado LLC. Digital Debit Group paves the way for mass adoption of mobile payments and transactions via the operation of the patented Digital Debit® platform. Digital Debit® is licensed by U.S. Patents 8,402,555, 8,533,860, and 8,887,308 with other patents pending. Digital Debit Group is an active EMVCo subscriber member. Digital Debit® is not owned or endorsed by Coinbase. No formal business relationship between Digital Debit® and Coinbase is implied as an app developer for the Coinbase API system.

About Qondado LLC:

Qondado LLC is a Puerto Rico corporation formed under the Act 20 provision, with additional product labs in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Qondado focuses on finding solutions to industry needs and developing consumer-friendly products and brands to accelerate opportunities for adoption. Digital Debit® and Digital Credit® are registered trademarks of Qondado LLC – qondado.com.

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/digital-debit-releases-android-version-of-real-time-bitcoin-payments-app-300569410.html

SOURCE Digital Debit Group

Related Links

http://www.digitaldebit.com

Everyone On Madison aims to teach computer literacy and bridge the digital divide

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Feeling the strain: In the Computer Age, digital eye strain has become an epidemic

By the end of the day, her eyes are red and dry, and her vision is blurred.

She, like a growing number of people across the country, suffers from digital eye strain, also referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome. The condition is caused by prolonged computer use, and in this age of technology, it’s becoming harder and harder to avoid.

“It’s very common, and it’s trending up,” according to Dr. Alexander Moses, an ophthalmologist with Essentia Health-St. Mary’s in Detroit Lakes. “More and more of our jobs are on the computer or at an office space, and that’s a big driver of the eye strain epidemic.”

Studies have shown that as many as 60-70 percent of office workers have some sort of eye strain. Moses said three out of every four patients he sees show at least one symptom of the condition.

Brend’s blurred vision and dry eyes are common symptoms, but general fatigue, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain are also typical. A hallmark of eye strain is that symptoms and discomfort levels get progressively worse as the day goes on.

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries, digital eye strain happens when the eyes follow the same path over and over again. The focusing muscle inside the eye is just like any other muscle of the body, so it gets tired with extended use.

“We spend so much time focusing on things at arms’ length,” said Moses. “We’re looking at one thing very close, for a long period of time.”

When that one thing is a computer screen, it creates more problems than if we were staring at papers or other materials or surfaces all day. New studies are showing that computer screens, as well as phones and other electronic devices, emit harmful wavelengths of blue light that may be damaging to the eyes, according to information from Essentia Health.

Computers also cause subtle air flow in front of the eyes, Moses said, and people blink less when they’re using electronics, leading to or exacerbating dry eyes.

Things are worse for older adults, as the lenses in the eye become less flexible and computer work gets more difficult with age. But kids and teenagers are susceptible to digital eye strain, too, if they spend a lot of time staring at cell phones or tablets, using computers or watching TV up close to the screen, especially if the lighting and their posture are less than ideal.

What can be done about it?

Limiting screen time is the most obvious solution, but it’s not a very realistic option for most people. The next best thing, Moses said, is to give your eye muscles regular breaks.

“We call it the 20-20-20 rule,” he said.

It works like this: after 20 minutes of focusing on the computer, shift your gaze to something about 20 feet away, for the next 20 seconds.

People often say they don’t have the time to do this, Moses said, but it’s worth making time for, as it can make a significant difference in how your eyes feel by the end of the day.

“I compare it to flexing your arm all day; you can do it, but it gets sore,” he said of staring at a screen all day. “If you take a break, you can keep it from getting tight.”

Keeping the eyes moist also helps manage eye strain. Try and remember to blink often, and, if need be, use over-the-counter or prescription eye drops. Eyelid massage can also be helpful. If ignored for too long, dry eyes can become a chronic condition, so this is an important symptom to manage.

Another easy thing to do is rearrange your workspace with eye strain in mind. Even slight changes can make a big difference.

Work distance is a major factor in eye strain, according to Moses. Computer screens should be positioned slightly below eye level, and about two feet away from the face. If you’re having to stretch your neck or strain your eyes to see what’s on the screen, then you should tweak your monitor settings. Things like brightness, contrast and font size are all customizable; experiment with those until you find what works best for you.

Glare is another biggie. If you’re able, change the lighting around you to reduce the effect of glare on your computer screen. Move the monitor away from windows, if that helps, or close shades. If overhead lights are too bright, try buying a shaded desk lamp that casts a softer glow more evenly across your desk. Another option is an anti-glare screen protector, a clear panel or filter that can be placed over a screen to help prevent sun and light glare.

Similarly, for kids, make sure any computers they regularly use are correctly positioned for them, and within the proper lighting. When kids are watching TV or playing video games, Moses said, “I advise backing them up onto the couch, so they’re not right up in it.”

If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure your prescription is up-to-date. Awareness is an important and often-overlooked first step in alleviating eye strain: Moses said sometimes people think their vision is blurry because their prescription is off, only to find out later that their real problem has been eye strain.

Whether you typically wear glasses or not, glasses specially made for computer work can be a useful tool in the fight against digital eye strain. Optical shops offer blue blocking lenses or coatings that can reduce exposure to the harmful wavelengths of blue light that are emitted by screens.

SIDEBAR or POP OUT, whatever works best

Digital Eye Strain

Definition: A group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use (from the American Optometric Association). A common condition. Also referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome.

Symptoms: Red eyes, dry eyes, headaches, fatigue, neck and shoulder pain

Solutions: Less screen time, regular breaks from the screen (the 20-20-20 rule), computer monitor positioned just below eye level and about two feet away from the face, customized screen settings, managed glare, eyes kept moist, prescription eyewear kept up-to-date, tinted lenses to filter out blue light

DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Google’s expanding digital health efforts — Net neutrality rollback could affect …


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new morning email providing the latest news, data, and insight on
how digital technology is disrupting the healthcare
ecosystem, produced by BI Intelligence.



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Have feedback? We’d like to hear from you. Write
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GOOGLE TAKES ON DIGITAL HEALTH FROM MULTIPLE
ANGLES:
 Tech giant Google continues to build out an
extensive healthcare ecosystem. The company announced two new
healthcare services just in the last week: 

  • Machine learning and genomic
    sequencing:
     The Google Brain team and Verily Life
    Sciences, Alphabet’s health subsidiary, have teamed up
    to introduce an
    open source version of DeepVariant, the machine learning tool
    that can strengthen the accuracy of genomic
    sequencing. 

    DeepVariant, which will be
    available on Google Cloud, is part of Google’s broader goal of
    helping the healthcare community better understand the genome
    and to provide them with deep learning-based genomics tools.
    The tool earned
    the highest accuracy rating at the FDA’s Truth Challenge in
    2016, and has improved another 50% since, making it an
    effective tool, according to Healthcare IT
    News.  
  • Google Search for post-traumatic stress disorder
    (PTSD):
     Google has partnered with
    two US groups, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
    and the National Center for PTSD, to introduce a new search
    feature that could help people identify if they suffer from the
    disorder. Mobile users that perform a Google search for PTSD or
    related queries will automatically be offered resources and a
    clinically validated screening questionnaire to test their
    likelihood of having PTSD. The group hopes that offering the
    online version of the PC-PTSD-5 screening tool on a convenient
    platform will encourage more people experiencing symptoms to
    seek help — it’s estimated that only about half of the 14
    million US adults who experience PTSD seek professional help
    for the condition.

Google’s recent efforts in healthcare go beyond
machine learning and search. 
In the last few
months, the company announced a
slew of partnerships with health IT businesses, launched a
start-up focused on urban health, and acquired a mobile
vitals tracking start-up. If the firm continues to use its
massive reach and technical expertise
 — Google
has seven services that boast over 1 billion usersprocesses 3.5
billion Google Search requests per day, and is the fourth largest
cloud provider globally — it will be a major disruptor to the
healthcare industry. 

NET NEUTRALITY ROLL BACK COULD STYMIE TELEMEDICINE
ADOPTION:
US Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Chairman Ajit Pai believes that fewer restrictions on internet
service providers will lower barriers to telecoms to developing
high speed internet in rural areas and that could help
telemedicine thrive,
according
to FierceHealthcare. Rural areas are a key
market for telemedicine because healthcare providers are often
scarce and high speed internet is a necessary component for
providing the service. Pai’s comments come as the FCC prepares to
roll back former US President Barrack Obama’s net neutrality
regulations. Stripping back regulatory oversight, Pai says.

The counter argument is that high-speed internet may
become cost-prohibitive for some hospitals and telemedicine
companies.
The Obama-era regulations sought to ensure
that internet service providers (ISPs) couldn’t throttle
companies’ connectivity speeds even when they used significant
bandwidth — hospitals that offer telemedicine consume
considerable bandwidth. The roll-back could mean that ISPs begin
charging hospitals more for higher and faster data usage. That
could limit telemedicine uptake due to budget constraints,
according to Eagle Telemedicine chief operating officer Robert
Annas.

It’s too early to tell how the rollback will impact
telemedicine, but usage and adoption remain strong for
now.
Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing segments
of mobile health — in early 2017, roughly 53% of US healthcare
providers planned to expand their offerings and services,
according to a Foley and Lardner survey.
As telemedicine continues to become more entrenched in
healthcare, it’s likely that providers and patients will become
reliant on the service.

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40d08_bii%2520telemedicine%2520plans DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Google's expanding digital health efforts — Net neutrality rollback could affect ...

BI
Intelligence


HENRY FORD HEALTH SYSTEM SUFFERS SIGNIFICANT DATA
BREACH:
 The data of more than 18,000 patients from
Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System were either viewed or stolen
during a security breach in October,
according to FierceHealthcare. The healthcare provider informed
patients that someone had gained access to
email credentials for some of its employees, which
allowed them to view the
 names, dates of birth,
and medical information of patients. Breaches aren’t uncommon in
the healthcare industry and they are expensive — in the US,
roughly 90% of hospitals reported having a breach in
the past two years, amounting to $6.2 billion in costs each year,
according to Becker’s Hospital Review. As healthcare becomes more
digitized and cybercriminals become even more aggressive in
trying to steal sensitive data from patients, data breaches will
likely increase. Healthcare systems must be more proactive in
strengthening cybersecurity protocols, such as training employees
on security practices and introducing multifactor
authentication to mitigate the threat of breaches. 

CHINA-BASED DIGITAL HEALTHCARE PLATFORM GETS
$60M IN FUNDING:
Medlinker, a China-based social
networking platform for doctors, has raised $60 million in its
latest round of funding, according to MobiHealthNews. The company
connects doctors with each other, healthcare institutions, and
insurance firms. Medlinker’s mobile app and cloud service also
enables doctors to share data, medical records, approve
appointments, and engage with patients. The network has seen
early success since its founding in 2014 — there are now over
430,00 verified doctors on the platform. Medlinker’s total
funding now amounts to over $100 million, reflecting the region’s
rising interest in digital health solutions —
China’s digital health market is expected
to expand from
$3 billion in 2014 to $110 billion in 2020, according to
BCG. It’s likely that the region will to see even bigger
investments going forward, especially as more
digital health providers enter the growing
market.  


IN OTHER NEWS…

  • University of Missouri researchers are
    leveraging wearable sensors
    to track nurses during their shifts in the intensive care unit.
    The device tracks what nurses are doing in real time in order
    to identify bottlenecks and heavy workloads in order to improve
    performance and safety.
  • EpicMD, the telehealth platform provider has
    raised $3 million in a
    Series A funding round, according to HIT Consultant. The
    funding could be used to expand access to
    the virtual care platform, which currently allows
    its patients to connect with over 600 board-certified doctors
    in the US 24 hours a day. 

Get the latest Google stock price here.

Microsoft Whiteboard adds ‘digital canvas’ collaboration to Windows …

Microsoft is bringing its Whiteboard ‘digital canvas’ app to Windows 10 users, providing a new way for employees to collaborate on creative work and share ideas.

Whiteboard, aimed at Surface owners, makes use of the device’s stylus and touch inputs to share drawings. Users can jot down notes, make precise illustrations or search for images on the web from the app. It can also create tables, diagrams and flowcharts, which are updated in real time and automatically saved to the cloud.

“It’s designed for teams that need to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, and across multiple devices,” the Microsoft Whiteboard team wrote in a blog post.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction for a more modern and natural style of collaboration,” said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Microsoft Whiteboard adds ‘digital canvas’ collaboration to Windows 10

Microsoft is bringing its Whiteboard ‘digital canvas’ app to Windows 10 users, providing a new way for employees to collaborate on creative work and share ideas.

Whiteboard, aimed at Surface owners, makes use of the device’s stylus and touch inputs to share drawings. Users can jot down notes, make precise illustrations or search for images on the web from the app. It can also create tables, diagrams and flowcharts, which are updated in real time and automatically saved to the cloud.

“It’s designed for teams that need to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, and across multiple devices,” the Microsoft Whiteboard team wrote in a blog post.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction for a more modern and natural style of collaboration,” said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, on advancing new digital health policies to encourage …

Today we’re announcing three new, significant policy documents to advance the FDA’s approach to the development and proper oversight of innovative digital health tools. We know that consumers and health care providers are increasingly embracing digital health technologies to inform everyday decisions. From fitness trackers to mobile applications tracking insulin administration, these digital tools can provide consumers with a wealth of valuable health information. Further, clinical evidence demonstrates that consumers who are better informed about health make better and more efficient decisions, take steps to improve their lifestyles and their health choices, and often experience better outcomes.

Given these meaningful benefits from empowering consumers, we believe the FDA must, whenever possible, encourage the development of tools that can help people be more informed about their health.  And we recognize that our regulations play a crucial role in the efficient development of such technologies. Therefore, our approach to regulating these novel, swiftly evolving products must foster, not inhibit, innovation. Moreover, we must always lean in the direction of enhancing access to more information – not restricting information flow – given the ability of reliable information to positively impact daily life.

Over the last five years, the FDA has made great strides in adapting our policies to better align our regulatory approach to the iterative nature of digital health products. We’re finding that in some parts of our regulatory portfolio, our traditional approach to overseeing certain health care products does not easily fit the types of innovations that are being developed. In these cases, we must adapt and evolve our policies to make sure we continue to provide a gold standard for oversight, while enabling advancement of beneficial innovations and greater consumer access to technologies that can improve their health.

To this aim, this past summer, we issued the Digital Health Innovation Action Plan, which outlines our efforts to reimagine the FDA’s approach to ensuring all Americans have timely access to high-quality, safe and effective digital health products. As part of this plan, we committed to several key goals, including increasing the number and expertise of digital health staff at the FDA, launching the digital health software precertification pilot program (“Pre-Cert”) and issuing guidance to modernize our policies.

As we come to the end of 2017, I’m proud of the significant progress the FDA’s digital health team has made on the Action Plan. We launched the Pre-Cert pilot and selected nine diverse companies to participate. We also have invested in hiring additional talent for our digital health team, including announcing the Entrepreneurs in Residence program. Yet, we recognize there’s more work to do.

Today, we’re announcing three new guidances – two draft and one final – that address, in part, important provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act (“Cures Act”), that offer additional clarity about where the FDA sees its role in digital health, and importantly, where we don’t see a need for FDA involvement. We’ve taken the instructions Congress gave us under the Cures Act and are building on these provisions to make sure that we’re adopting the full spirit of the goals we were entrusted with by Congress.

The first draft guidance, “Clinical and Patient Decision Support Software,” outlines our approach to clinical decision support software (CDS). CDS has many uses, including helping providers, and ultimately patients, identify the most appropriate treatment plan for their disease or condition. For example, such software can include programs that compare patient-specific signs, symptoms or results with available clinical guidelines to recommend diagnostic tests, investigations or therapy. This type of technology has the potential to enable providers and patients to fully leverage digital tools to improve decision making. We want to encourage developers to create, adapt and expand the functionalities of their software to aid providers in diagnosing and treating old and new medical maladies.

This draft guidance is intended to make clear what types of CDS would no longer be defined as a medical device, and thus would not be regulated by the agency. For example, generally, CDS that allows for the provider to independently review the basis for the recommendations are excluded from the FDA’s regulation. This type of CDS can include software that suggests a provider order liver function tests before starting statin medication, consistent with clinical guidelines and approved drug labeling.

However, the FDA will continue to enforce oversight of software programs that are intended to process or analyze medical images, signals from in vitro diagnostic devices or patterns acquired from a processor like an electrocardiogram that use analytical functionalities to make treatment recommendations, as these remain medical devices under the Cures Act.  For example, we would continue to oversee software that analyzes data from a patient’s spinal fluid test to diagnose tuberculosis meningitis or viral meningitis. These are areas in which the information provided in the clinical decision software, if not accurate, has the potential for significant patient harm, and the FDA plays an important role in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of these products.

Similarly, the CDS draft guidance also proposes to not enforce regulatory requirements for lower-risk decision support software that’s intended to be used by patients or caregivers — known as patient decision support software (PDS) — when such software allows a patient or a caregiver to independently review the basis of the treatment recommendation. Although PDS was not part of the Cures Act, the FDA believes that PDS should follow a similar regulatory structure as CDS. An example of lower-risk PDS products could include software that reminds a patient how or when to take a prescribed drug, consistent with the drug’s labeling. PDS software that does not clearly allow independent review of the recommendation by the patient or a caregiver would continue to be subject to the FDA’s active oversight. This might include a warfarin monitoring device that makes recommendations for dosing based on the outcome of a home blood test.

We believe our proposals for regulating CDS and PDS not only fulfill the provisions of the Cures Act, but also strike the right balance between ensuring patient safety and promoting innovation.

The second draft guidance being issued today, “Changes to Existing Medical Software Policies Resulting from Section 3060 of the 21st Century Cures Act,” addresses other digital health provisions included in the Cures Act. Specifically, this second guidance outlines the FDA’s interpretation of the types of software that are no longer considered medical devices. We’re making clear that certain digital health technologies – such as mobile apps that are intended only for maintaining or encouraging a healthy lifestyle – generally fall outside the scope of the FDA’s regulation. Such technologies tend to pose a low risk to patients, but can provide great value to consumers and the healthcare system.

Through this draft guidance, we’re proposing changes to previously published agency guidance documents, including: General Wellness and Mobile Medical Applications, among others, to be consistent with the Cures Act and reflective of the agency’s new, more modern approach to digital health products. The proposed changes include updating the categories of products for which, prior to the Cures Act, the FDA already intended to exercise enforcement discretion owing to their very low risk and potential benefits to patients from greater innovation. Now, to create an even clearer distinction, consistent with the Cures Act, we’re saying that many of these products no longer qualify as medical devices that would be subject to the FDA’s oversight.

In addition to taking steps to clarify the FDA’s position on digital health, we’re also working with our global counterparts to harmonize and streamline the regulation of digital health products internationally.

Innovations in digital health remind us that we live in an interconnected world – one that reaches across borders and joins us in new and unique ways. That’s why in recent years, we’ve worked closely with regulatory authorities across the globe through the International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF) to evaluate requirements in individual countries, and harmonize our regulatory approaches to digital health medical devices, where possible. Many of our global counterparts are represented, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, Russia and Singapore. 

As part of our package of policies being announced today, the FDA also is issuing a final guidance, “Software as a Medical Device: Clinical Evaluation,” in fulfillment of these international harmonization efforts. This guidance was initially issued in draft in October 2016 and informed by global and domestic comments. Today’s final guidance expands on that draft. It establishes common principles for regulators to use in evaluating the safety, effectiveness and performance of Software as a Medical Device (SaMD). This final guidance provides globally recognized principles for analyzing and assessing SaMD, based on the overall risk of the product. The agency’s adoption of these principles provides us with an initial framework when further developing our own specific regulatory approaches and expectations for regulatory oversight, and is another important piece in our overarching policy framework for digital health.

In sum, these three important guidance documents being issued today will continue to expand our efforts to encourage innovation in the ever-changing field of digital health. Our aim is to provide more clarity on and innovative changes to our risk-based approach to digital health products so that innovators know where they stand relative to the FDA’s regulatory framework. Our interpretation of the Cures Act is creating a bright line to define those areas where we do not require premarket review. And we’re providing more detail on those technologies and applications that would no longer be classified as a medical device subject to FDA regulation. This will allow us to focus our efforts on the highest-risk products. Finally, we’re issuing new details on the common principles we and our international partners will use for evaluating the safety and effectiveness of SaMD. Through this comprehensive approach, we can deliver on our commitment of promoting beneficial innovation in this space while providing proper oversight where it’s merited.

We’ll be taking other steps to implement our Digital Health Innovation Action Plan. We’re hosting a Pre-Cert Pilot Program workshop on January 30-31, 2018  to update FDA staff, participants and stakeholders on the lessons learned from the pilot. Later in the year, we’ll share the pilot’s proof of concept and outline next steps for establishing a Pre-Certification Program. We look forward to working with patients, providers, technology developers and other customers in helping Americans access safe and innovative digital health products.

###

The feds just cleared a major roadblock for digital health

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fb178_104601255-IMG_5395.530x298 The feds just cleared a major roadblock for digital health

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just released its guidance on a category of software called “clinical decision support,” which is designed to help doctors make more data-driven decisions about patient care.

It sounds wonky, but companies for years have been begging for clarity on whether this type of software is regulated — or it isn’t.

Experts say that lack of clarity is holding back start-ups and big companies alike in their attempt to bring new technologies to health. That includes Apple’s plans to use its smartwatch to detect irregularities with the heart’s rhythm and notify users if they need a medical consultation.

“I know developers who sat in my office and told me they didn’t build a life-saving feature because they didn’t know if it would be regulated or not,” said Morgan Reed, president of an app developers’ interest group called ACT.

Three documents from the FDA remove some doubts by describing various types of medical software and what sorts of claims would be regulated.

Reed said it’s now clear that if a doctor makes the decision and diagnosis, and uses software to make more informed decisions about treatment, that software would not be regulated.

It would be regulated, however, if the software makes a diagnosis. For instance, if it notifies a user that they have a specific medical condition.

Reed said this category of software is so important as it takes some of the guesswork out of medicine.

Previously, doctors made decisions based on patients they’ve seen with a similar condition and background. “If you’re lucky, that’s 500 people who look like you,” said Reed. But with new technology from “thousands of doctors on millions of patients,” he said, treatments will be more evidence-based.

Apple, Google, Fitbit and others are all working with FDA as it figures out how to fast-track the approval process for digital health companies.

Some people in the industry think the guidance does not go far enough.

Some clinical decision support software is more “risky” to a patient than others. For instance, some app makers will recommend chemotherapy to a cancer patient based on information in their database. Others will merely use data to predict a risk score for populations of people who are more likely to develop migraines.

Bradley Merrill Thompson, an FDA expert and lawyer with the firm Epstein, Becker Green, would have liked to see FDA distinguish between these various use-cases based on risk.

“We didn’t get that,” he wrote in an email. “Worse, it appears based on the guidance that the FDA is not interested in drawing that line.”

fb178_104601255-IMG_5395.530x298 The feds just cleared a major roadblock for digital health



Microsoft Whiteboard adds ‘digital canvas’ collaboration to Windows 10

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is bringing its Whiteboard ‘digital canvas’ app to Windows 10 users, providing a new way for employees to collaborate on creative work and share ideas.

Whiteboard, aimed at Surface owners, makes use of the device’s stylus and touch inputs to share drawings. Users can jot down notes, make precise illustrations or search for images on the web from the app. It can also create tables, diagrams and flowcharts, which are updated in real time and automatically saved to the cloud.

“It’s designed for teams that need to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, and across multiple devices,” the Microsoft Whiteboard team wrote in a blog post.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction for a more modern and natural style of collaboration,” said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Whiteboard is specifically tied to Windows 10, “thus limiting its cross-platform appeal,” he said. “Still, I am pleased to see that Microsoft is so highly focused on improving the way people create and share information. 

Digital distress: Affordable Internet an equity issue in Michigan

That means, in a typical Detroit household, if a few tablets, computers or smartphones try to access the Internet at the same time, they likely won’t be able to perform simple tasks such as checking email or streaming video, experts said.

Both ATT and Xfinity, the major internet service providers in Detroit, provide $10-per-month Internet plans for low-income families.

But the less expensive Internet service is slow.

About 14,000 households in Detroit connect to the Internet using Comcast’s program for low-income families. This year, Comcast increased the speeds it offers through the program from 10 mbps to 15 mbps, said Michelle Gilbert, a spokeswoman for Comcast.

But the company can’t make money off offering its highest speeds for $10 per month, Gilbert said.

“(The package) is intended to provide access to low-income families so kids can do homework, people can pay bills and rely on the Internet for everyday things we’ve come to use it for.

“Does that mean you can stream 4k HD? No, but that wasn’t the intention,” she said. “There’s a delicate (price) balancing act we have to play.”

Having no or slow Internet connections will hamstring Detroiters as more governmental services are going online, said Wiley, the researcher at The New School.

In 2020, Americans will be able to fill out U.S. Census forms online in addition to by phone and on paper.

An online Census process could be disastrous for Detroit, Wiley said.  

“If people are not counted, that impacts federal grants that Detroit desperately needs. (The census) is just another way broadband access is deeply impacting us.”

What is high-speed broadband?   

Fixed broadband allows homes or businesses to connect to the Internet through a cable or a fixed wireless signal as opposed to a satellite or cellular link. In Michigan, the biggest Internet companies include ATT, Xfinity and WOW.

The minimum speed for what’s considered high-speed fixed broadband is 25 megabits per second (mbps) for downloads and 3 mbps for uploads, according to 2015 Federal Communications Commission standards.

In Michigan, nearly all of urban residents have access to broadband, while  900,000 rural residents do not. In some of Michigan’s rural counties, 90 percent of people or more lack access to fixed broadband, compared to 3 percent without access to broadband in urban areas.

Jameson Zimmer, director of content for BroadbandNow.com, said local governments can help ensure better high-speed Internet access for low-income residents by creating incentives for more competition from fiber providers like Google Fiber to set up shop and drive down prices.

“Ultimately, the main problem with Detroit is that it’s a ‘duopoly’ system where Xfinity and ATT are the only realistic options for most people,” Zimmer wrote in an email.

An exception in Detroit is Rocket Fiber, one of Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures companies, that is bringing rocket fast gigabit Internet service to residents and businesses in downtown and Midtown.

“We would love to see more (internet service provider) startups like this, but they are quite rare,” Zimmer wrote.

Cities across the nation are grappling with the digital divide and adopting different strategies such as creating municipal networks.

In 2010, In Chattanooga, Tenn. became the first city to get into the high-speed Internet market, offering 1 gigabit-per-second fiber-optic Internet service. It resulted in an influx of new tech-based firms to the area. The city provided cheaper, faster service than the cable companies did, and now serves about half the area’s Internet customers. More than 450 other municipalities nationwide now offer some form of public Internet service.

The drawback is that, while gigabit fiber optic service is far faster, it is costly. Instead, Detroit may need to figure out a way to attract more broadband companies.

“We need to think about a public option,” Wiley said. “In absence of that, states and cities have to see it as Job One to create affordable access with more franchise agreements … incentives to bring in more competition with more price points,” she said.

Tiny fixes

In Detroit, community groups and nonprofits have stepped up to fill the gaps, providing low-income residents shared high-speed networks and computer labs.

The Equitable Internet Initiative, which includes groups called the Digital Community Technology Project and Allied Media Projects, is a grassroots effort that is setting up and sharing gigabit Internet wireless connections in three underserved neighborhoods. The projects use antennas on the tops of buildings in the communities to beam out the signals.

The project has been lauded in national media as Detroiters fighting digital inequity by setting up their own Internet access.

On the far east side, on the second Saturday of each a month, the Eastside Community Network has a “bring your own device” workshop that has been attracting mostly older residents who want to learn how to use technology and the Internet, said Suzanne Cleage, the group’s director of neighborhood growth.

But that’s not enough, she said.

Neighbors come to the classes asking to learn how to access social service websites, use Google and log on City of Detroit websites that allow residents to file complaints. But some people can’t afford the Internet connection.

“If it’s a choice between the Internet and groceries, they choose groceries,” Cleage said.

So the group got a $75,000 grant from the Knight Foundation and by next spring expects to open a “tech equity” computer lab.

“Our community is really coming to terms with the fact that everything in our world is connected with a box that has the Internet it in it,” she said. “We have to provide a means.”

Microsoft’s new Whiteboard app aims to turn computer screens into digital canvasses

41b4f_Microsoft-Whiteboard-Preview-1d-630x354 Microsoft's new Whiteboard app aims to turn computer screens into digital canvasses
The Microsoft Whiteboard app. (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft today announced a new app that lets users turn their computer screens into whiteboards that can be edited and annotated by colleagues.

The appropriately named Whiteboard app is rolling out in a public preview today. It works on any Windows 10 device, and it allows multiple Office 365 subscribers to work on a document at the same time, across multiple devices. Microsoft has offered similar capabilities on some devices, specifically the giant Surface Hub device.

The app lets people mock up documents with either their hands or a pen. Photos can be dropped in, and rulers and other tools allow for precise measurements.

Here’s how it has been used during a private preview, according to Microsoft:

We saw startups use it to put together images, mockups, and notes as an inspiration board for their next big idea. We witnessed marketing agencies use it in online meetings as they work with clients on product designs in real time. And our team uses it to diagram engineering plans, with remote participants filling in their respective areas on the same working canvas.

The app automatically transforms inexact drawings into standard shapes. And whiteboards save automatically, meaning users don’t have to email changes back and forth.

The app is available for download on the Microsoft store. The company said the new app will replace the native Surface Hub whiteboard app when it becomes generally available in a “few months.”

Cryptojacking: The hackers mining digital currencies from your computer

As demand for bitcoin reaches record heights, many people would jump at the chance to earn a little digital gold in their spare time and line their wallets with cryptocurrency.

But most amateur bitcoin enthusiasts don’t expect their own PCs to be hijacked to harvest coins for cyber criminals.

In recent months, a new form of malware has emerged through malicious websites that harvest digital tokens using a the processing power on the victim’s computer. It has affected potentially millions of users, with proceeds from the operation totalling millions of pounds a year.

A sudden trend in so-called “cryptojacking” has taken off in recent months, which sees hackers attack websites to gather free digital coins. Sites affected have including CBS Showtime, UFC live-streams and even official websites for the governments of Moldova and Bangladesh.

Cryptojacking exploits the process of “mining” cryptocurrencies…

DHgate Proposes “Chinese Digital Trade Model” During the World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit

WUZHEN, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The World Internet Conference celebrated its fourth Summit in Wuzhen,
Zhejiang Province, from December 3rd to 5th, with the theme of “Developing
the Digital Economy for Opening up and Sharing – Working Together to
Build a Common Destiny for Cyberspace.”
Ms. Diane Wang,
Chair of Chinese Cross-border E-commerce 50 Forum, Co-Chair of the
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Entrepreneurship Working Group
(MSMEEWG) of APEC Business Advisory Council, as well as the founder and
CEO of DHgate, was invited to attend the summit as a representative of
the digital trade industry, together with about 1500 participants.

During the Summit, Ms. Diane Wang proposed the “Chinese Digital Trade
Model” to the participant guests from the internet industry, and
expressed that the Digital Trade Intelligence System (DTIS) developed by
DHgate.com is opening up a whole new era for the trade industry in the
digital economy.

In 2017, with the development of cloud computing, big data, artificial
intelligence and other technologies, the world has entered into the
digital era. Digital trade is the inevitable result of globalization and
digitization. Ms. Diane Wang said that, as China moves from the consumer
internet to the industrial internet, Chinese internet enterprises such
as DHgate, created a brand new “Chinese Digital Trade Model,” which has
three major characteristics: innovative business Model, promotable
industrial standards, and replicable innovative practices, all to bring
new opportunities for more economies and to empower more
Small-and-Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to access global markets
through digital trade.

(Ms. Diane Wang in the World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit)

China Bringing the “Chinese Digital Trade Model” to the World

According to a report published by the McKinsey Global Institute, titled
“China’s Digital Economy: A Leading Global Force,” the digital
transformation in China does not only have a profound impact on its own
economy, but will also affect the global digitalization process.

Ms. Diane Wang pointed out that, in the era of the new globalization and
“Internet+,” internet enterprises in China are leading the trend of
digital trade. With 13 years of best practices and innovation, DHgate
created the Digital Trade Intelligence System (DTIS), which includes

  • The nation-to-nation bilateral cooperation on digital trade such as
    the China-Turkey and China-Peru agreements initiated by DHgate, with
    the aim to facilitate cross-border trade through digital platforms,
    including custom clearance, inspection and quarantine, tariff and
    currency exchange, etc.
  • A global capacity building program for digital trade to enable
    entrepreneurs to access global markets through digital platforms, and
  • Innovative business models such as the intelligent Digital Trade
    Center (DTC) – the online-offline integrated cross-border trade
    solution center.

Overall, these best practices and innovations could be replicated in
more economies, and the digital trade business model and industry
standards created by DHgate will contribute to build the new global
business model and global standards.

Chinese Digital Trade Model, Endorsed by World Leaders

During the recently concluded APEC CEO Summit in Vietnam, Ms. Diane
Wang, as Chinese Member to the APEC Business Advisory Council, proposed
the Digital Trade Initiative to APEC economic leaders, and advised
leaders on how to maximize the advantages of the digital economy and
digital trade, and help SMEs to access global markets through digital
trade. APEC leaders strongly agreed with Ms. Wang’s proposal, expressing
that they will bring the initiative back to their respective economies
to promote the development of cross-border e-commerce and digital trade
in their own economy.

DHgate is driving the in-depth integration of the Internet with
different industries, and promoting the transformation, upgrading and
innovation of business model.

About DHgate.com

DHgate was established in 2004 as China’s first B2B cross-border
e-commerce transactional platform dedicated to enabling Small and
Medium-sized Enterprises to go global through cross-border e-commerce.
Today, DHgate serves more than 14 million registered international
buyers from 222 countries and regions, connecting to over 1.7 million
Chinese registered suppliers, with over 7.7 million products listed on
the platform.

Ireland to fight proposed EU digital tax on internet giants

Proposals to introduce a tax fiercely opposed by Ireland will be discussed by European finance ministers meeting in Brussels next week.

Tuesday’s meeting about the European digital tax on internet companies’ profits will be preceded on Monday by a gathering of euro zone finance ministers at which a new Eurogroup head to replace Jeroen Dijsselbloem will be elected.

The former Dutch finance minister is stepping down from the role in January.

But it is the proposals for the digital tax, which would be levied on the sale of big digital players in EU markets, that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will be watching more closely than any election.

Next year, the European Commission will publish its legislative proposal for new forms of taxation on digital companies.

The Irish Government fears this could dramatically reduce the attractiveness of Ireland as a base for many of the world’s biggest technology companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook and LinkedIn, all of which maintain big operations in Ireland.

Some of these companies also utilise Irish tax laws to minimise tax bills elsewhere – a factor that has long angered bigger member states.

Ireland recognises change to the international taxation of internet companies is coming, but wants that process to be managed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Tax avoidance

The organisation has been examining the issue, and the related question of tax avoidance by multinational companies, in recent years.

However, the commission – backed by bigger member states, especially France – is keen for the EU to move ahead on its own.

Ireland strongly opposes such a development, and has warned that a unilateral move could see big technology companies move their headquarters outside the EU – a prospect made more likely by the UK’s impending exit.

Mr Donohoe has been wooing smaller member states in northern and Eastern Europe to join the opposition to the commission’s plans. “We’re working together with other countries,” said a source familiar with the Irish Government’s efforts, citing contacts with “the Nordics and the Baltics”.

“Like us, they are small countries who see the digital economy as compensation for the disadvantages of size,” the source said.

Irish diplomats have been working in advance of the meeting to promote the OECD as officials put together the draft conclusions for next week’s meeting.

According to a briefing document seen by The Irish Times, the draft conclusions “highlight the urgency of agreeing on a policy response at international level”.

It suggests that an “appropriate nexus” be explored in the form of a virtual permanent establishment, together with amendments to the rules on transfer pricing and profit attribution. The draft calls for close co-operation in this process between the EU, the OECD and other international partners.

The draft goes on to note that there is desire among some member states for a temporary tax to be implemented while the broader questions of how to tax digital revenues internationally is worked out.

“As concerns action at EU level, it notes the interest of many member states for temporary measures, for instance an ‘equalisation levy’ based on revenues from digital activities. The draft calls on the commission to thoroughly assess these measures,” the briefing note says.

DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Google’s latest digital health moves — GE partners with Nvidia — Digital health platform …

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GOOGLE’S LATEST DIGITAL HEALTH MOVES: At this week’s Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference, Google announced strategic partnerships with a number of IT companies in the healthcare space. The partnerships each leverage the firm’s cloud computing platform, Google Cloud, to give medical providers access to improved radiology workflows, lower costs, and advanced imaging analytics with machine learning.

  • Change Healthcare, one of the largest independent healthcare technology companies in the US has formed a partnership with Google Cloud to develop new solutions for the healthcare industry, starting with healthcare imaging. Change will leverage Google Cloud’s machine learning technology to uncover actionable insights for healthcare providers. It will also use the firm’s cloud G Suite to give providers new solutions that connect care teams regardless of their location.
  • Nautilus Medical, the medical imaging software company, is releasing an image exchange and patient information storage and distribution system in collaboration with Google Cloud. Nautilus will use Google’s cloud services to advance analytic capabilities and increase security on the company’s image management platform. The partnership is expected to enable Nautilus to deliver its services to more customers, especially underserved professionals that don’t have the budget for more expensive offerings.
  • Ambra Health, the medical data and image management cloud company with over 1,000 providers on its network, will offer its Ambra Suite of imaging solutions through Google Cloud. The collaboration gives healthcare providers the ability to gain better insights from health data, such as medical imaging, through Google’s machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. The firms will also give multi-hospital institutions, radiology centers, and small medical groups the ability to easily access and share medical images and information with physicians and patients.

These partnerships will help strengthen Google’s position in a growing and extremely competitive cloud market. The global cloud healthcare market is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 21% between 2015 and 2020 to reach $9.5 billion, according to MarketsAndMarkets. In order to capture a significant share of this market, it’s likely Google will have to continue aggressively building out its network through partnerships. This is especially true if Google hopes to hold off major competitors – Amazon recently made headlines after announcing a major cloud healthcare partnership with Cerner.

GE PARTNERS WITH NVIDIA FOR MEDICAL IMAGE PROCESSING:GE Healthcareannounceda new partnership with chipmaker Nvidia to use artificial intelligence (AI) to process medical images and other healthcare data. Nvidia – which designs graphics chips for computers and has been developing autonomous-car systems – will provide hardware and AI platforms to interpret medical images that are captured on GE equipment. Hospitals and medical offices create vast quantities of data – up to 50 million gigabytes every year at the average hospital – but only 3% of that data gets analyzed or used, according to GE. Much of that data is from imaging such as ultrasounds, MRIs, or CT scans, which need to be analyzed by a radiologist. After collection, the radiologist writes a report on the image, noting what appears normal and abnormal within the scan so that other practitioners who don’t specialize in imaging can act on the results of the scan. But now, scans made on GE imaging machinery like the new Revolution Frontier CT will be able to use Nvidia image processing to detect liver and kidney lesions. This will reduce the workload on radiologists, so more of the wealth of data hospitals generate can actually be put to use.

CHINESE DIGITAL HEALTHCARE PLATFORM COULD SEE $1 BILLION IPO IN 2018: China’s leading online healthcare platform, Ping An Good Doctor, is working with JPMorgan Chase and Citi Group on an initial public offering (IPO), which could close in 2018 for up to $1 billion, according to Reuters. After launching in 2015, the platform that lets patients consult with doctors and set up appointments has rapidly added over 77 million Chinese users. Good Doctor’s growth is likely a reflection of China’s interest in digital health services – for example, Chinese residents were found to be the most likely to use a connected health device, according to an Ipsos study that interviewed over 18,000 individuals in 23 countries. As this interest rises and more people in the region gain internet access, China will become an even stronger market for digital health providers – China’s digital health market is expected to expand from $3 billion in 2014 to $110 billion in 2020, according to BCG.

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PHILIPS BUYS STARTUP TO IMPROVE RADIOLOGY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS:Technology company Philips has acquired Analytical Informatics, a startup that provides solutions to help manage radiology practices, according toHIT Consultant. Philips has moved heavily to build up its healthcare business, and this latest purchase will help to augment its PerfromanceBridge product portfolio and make it a more competitive choice for radiology departments looking to improve efficiency and enhance practice performance. Analytical Informatics offers advanced workflow management tools that allow physicians to let the software handle and automate the more rote aspects of managing a patient’s care. Philips has also added a number of new features to PerformanceBridge, including equipment utilization tracking and analysis, improved data collection tools, and protocol management. The market for medical practice management software is expected increase to nearly $3.2 billion globally by 2021 according toTechnavio.

DOCTOLIB RAISES $42 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL FUNDING: Doctolib, the French online medical appointment booking start-up, has raised $42 million in funding from Eurazeo and BPI France, according to TechCrunch. This follows an earlier round of funding in January, which makes Doctolib one of the most well-funded health start-ups in Europe. The online booking platform, which was developed for medical providers, counts roughly seven million bookings each month in its home country of France. This latest round of funding is expected to help the firm accelerate its expansion efforts into Germany where the company is seeing early success – the platform has already managed 1.5 million bookings in Germany. This investment will likely be focused on adding medical providers to the platform, which is the company’s sole revenue source – all of Doctolib’s revenue comes from its French physicians who have subscribed to its service for a monthly fee, according to Reuters. And given the platform’s positive results in France and early success in Germany, it’s possible that Doctolib could have its eyes on even more markets in 2018. 1b7b0_21c7ac6bfe8f0d60a950a2faac5901b9e2f1f955-800x600 DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Google's latest digital health moves — GE partners with Nvidia — Digital health platform ...




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