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It Takes More than Technology to Change Health Behaviors

April 9th, 2014
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There’s no question that medical apps and software aimed at improving healthcare outcomes are hot items. In a previous post for Popper and Company, I discussed the growth in popularity of medical apps and the FDA’s new approach toward them, showing how new technology can simultaneously empower the patient/consumer and make important health-related information easier to access.

But during one discussion at last month’s SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, experts and innovators alike underscored a more important consideration: How well do any of these inventions interact with patients and consumers?

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Five Tips for Folding FDA’s New Medical App Oversight into Your Business Strategy

March 27th, 2014
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In my post for InformationWeek Healthcare (available here), I discussed the implications of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final guidance for medical apps. While the September 2013 guidance specified that it would require clearance of any app intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate or prevent a disease, it left an open door to exercise “enforcement discretion” if an app meets the technical definition of a medical device but poses a low risk to the patient.

In this post, I will discuss the practical challenges resulting from this guidance, and how the evolving environment of app regulations should be folded into your business strategy.

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WEF’s Top 10 Innovations for 2014: How May These Impact the Future of Healthcare?

March 24th, 2014
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The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently issued its predictions for the top 10 emerging technological innovations. At least three of these apply directly to healthcare and have been in the sights of the Popper and Company team and our clients. And even the innovations highlighted by WEF that aren’t immediately relevant to a healthcare issue might end up contributing to medical advances.

The three Forum predictions tied to healthcare include:

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FDA Creates Medical App Regulation Maze

March 3rd, 2014
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This post is published on InformationWeek Healthcare, March 3, 2014

When the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its final guidance for medical apps, inventors and investors alike pored through the document, seeking answers on what was to be regulated and what wasn’t. While they indeed found more specific information than has been available from the agency, the guidance also showed the agency’s uncertainty over how the world of medical apps is going to evolve.

Read full post on  InformationWeek Healthcare.


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What Can Healthcare Learn From Project Management?

February 26th, 2014
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David Scher’s post was originally published on The Digital Health Corner.

Traditionally, manufacturers have adopted project management more than physicians and other healthcare providers have. But health technology expert and physician David Scher identifies several ways in which project management can help providers and hospitals develop a more focused approach to improving patient outcomes. Collaborative outlooks and teams; a designated project manager overseeing planning, management and execution of patient care; a shared vision among all participants; use of technology as a tool (as opposed to a standalone solution); and controlling costs all are familiar topics to project managers. Scher believes these concepts should become familiar to healthcare managers, as well.

At Popper and Company, we believe in helping facilitate the convergence of healthcare with technology and other industries. Thus, we hope you will read David’s full post on The Digital Health Corner to learn more about his ideas.


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Apple Eyes Tesla—Transformative Power Play or Spoiled Fruit?

February 21st, 2014
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The headline leapt from the San Francisco media and spread to websites and blogs worldwide: Will Apple Computer buy electronic car maker Tesla? The answer to that question is cloudy. There are a lot of rumors swirling about the two companies, Tesla founder Elon Musk is involved in a multitude of projects, and the alleged meeting took place more than a year ago.

Perhaps the more important question is—why would Apple and Tesla be interested in one another? They’re two great companies that could probably do something fantastic together, but they’re in very different industries. While that hasn’t stopped Apple before, the company hasn’t previously acquired for innovation – rather, it has usually developed from within.

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A Meeting of Minds on the Value of Healthcare IT

February 19th, 2014
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As healthcare providers face challenges from empowered patients, the increasing impact of the internet and mobile technology on patient care, and more outcomes-focused regulatory requirements, the role of information technology in healthcare has never been more important. To both gain more perspective and to help align Popper and Company’s strategies with the latest advances and issues, I will be attending the annual HIMSS14 (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) conference in Orlando starting next week.

At Popper and Company, we’ve helped guide our clients around a wide range of healthcare IT issues, ranging from mobile health, to patient engagement, to establishing the value of healthcare IT—all “hot topics” at this year’s HIMSS meeting. I expect that some of the issues we’ve discussed in the past will be part of this year’s conference, namely:

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Technology versus the Elephants in the Medical Examination Room

February 13th, 2014
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David Scher’s post was originally published on The Digital Health Corner.

While technology is lauded for improving communication in many areas, including healthcare, there are still at least five issues that patients and even doctors find themselves uncomfortable discussing face to face. In his post “Five Elephants in the Exam Room: Can Technology Help?,” David Scher points out how new apps, Internet innovations and other electronic advances can help patients and doctors talk about issues like sexual function, alternative treatments, and advanced directives for end of life care. Digital tools may even help doctors become more accepting of the online world.

At Popper and Company, we believe in helping facilitate the convergence of healthcare with technology and other industries. We hope you will read David’s full post on The Digital Health Corner to gain another perspective on this convergence.


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CVS Kicks the Habit, with Implications for Consumer-Centered Healthcare

February 10th, 2014
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CVS/Pharmacy’s recent announcement that it will cease selling tobacco products in all its stores by October 1 made headlines nationwide. The decision underscores the growing power of the consumer in healthcare, while raising questions about the sale of other products that have an impact on public health.

In its announcement and in an article in JAMA, CVS emphasized the need to make smoking less socially acceptable. The number of smokers in the U.S. has declined drastically in 50 years, from 42% to 18% of the population, which still leaves 42 million active smokers, costing $132 billion in direct medical costs and another $157 billion in lost productivity. In addition, the irony of pharmacies selling products to promote health while also selling tobacco products was not lost on the authors (or the company, according to its announcement).

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Two Disparate Meetings – #CES2014 and #JPM2014: Each Addressing Healthcare’s Future

January 29th, 2014
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The 32nd annual JP Morgan Healthcare conference, held in San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel from January 13-16, was a posh affair by industry standards, with only select companies having been asked to present, investors as the key target audience, and a fertile ground for deal-making touted as the primary offering. An event characterized by (mostly) men in conservative suits, the 7,000+ attendees were jammed into the Westin’s narrow halls struggling to get a seat to hear the latest news from pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device manufacturers. Meanwhile, deal-making discussions, media interviews and satellite “meet-ups” occurred in the nooks and crannies of just about every hotel in a 5-block radius from the Westin.

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