Welcome New Member: Kim Darling, Founder, President & CEO of Competitive Health, Inc.
Competitive Health maintains direct agreements with leading digital health solutions, telehealth companies, retail clinics, and PPO networks to provide unlimited access and unprecedented savings to its clients and members - employer groups, insurance carriers, TPAs, affinity groups, and exchanges. Competitive Health provides savings solutions for doctor visits, hospital procedures, retail clinics, telehealth, behavioral health, dental, maternity, chronic care, senior programs, and more. It also provides wholesale access to programs that are proven to manage diabetes, depression, and pregnancy. Kim has led Competitive Health since 1996 and also founded WellCard Savings, in 2010, a leading free healthcare savings program. Previously, Kim was Co-Founder of Rete+Pay, worked in National Accounts for First Health/First Data, and in Regional Sales for Humana. Kim has joined the ABL-Health OC Round Table.
Welcome New Member: Jiang Li, Ph.D., Founder & CEO of VivaLNK, Inc.
VivaLNK is a provider of connected healthcare solutions for patient care and telemedicine, whose portfolio includes wearable medical grade devices and data analytics applications that continuously monitor the health and well-being of individuals. At the core of its family of products is VivaLNK's eSkin, a first-of-its-kind breathable thin film substrate with integrated circuits and sensors designed for long-term wearable use. Today, VivaLNK has 70+ commercial partners, its multi-vital sensor has received the CE Mark, and its ECG platform has received FDA clearance. Prior to launching VivaLNK in 2014, Jiang was VP of Engineering at Thin Film Electronics, and earlier at Kovio. Still earlier, he was VP of Product Engineering at Spansion, and Director of Product Engineering at Advanced Micro Devices. Returning to ABL, Jiang has re-joined the ABL-Health SV Round Table.
Meanwhile, Current Health has chosen VivaLNK's continuous temperature sensor for its AI-powered remote patient monitoring solution designed to reduce hospital overcrowding and readmissions. Instead of relying on the patient to manually measure and report temperature multiple times per day, the medical grade VivaLNK continuous temperature sensor does this automatically by sending patient temperature to the Current Health system on a continuous basis even while the patient is asleep. This stream of data can present a more accurate picture and trend on the condition of the patient.
Alvaka Networks Urges Companies to Prioritize Network Security
In Is Cyber Insurance Unintentionally Increasing Ransomware Attacks?, Alvaka Networks discusses a statement by the FBI regarding ransomware, in which they express their "discourag[ment] [towards] payments of cyber ransoms, arguing that it could encourage this criminal business model." Alvaka counters that "having your business equipped with sufficient protective measures is the best method to halt the development of more cybercriminals. Cyber insurance is valuable ... [but] business owners should place greater emphasis on strengthening network security and attaining adequate IT knowledge. A safer network reduces the probability of a breach, and not having a network compromise means your insurance will not have to pay a ransom. As a result, the cyber insurance you have purchased would not be producing an unintentional growth effect on the ransomware criminal business model." (Oli Thordarson, ABL-Health OC)
Anthem Blue Cross Deploys Digital Kiosks to Provide Interpretation & Telehealth Services
Anthem Blue Cross has recently deployed 200+ digital solutions kiosks inside 80 health centers across California to provide real-time video interpretation services and access to telehealth. The kiosks include Wi-Fi enabled tablets that allow treating clinicians to engage certified interpreters without having to pre-schedule in-person interpreter appointments or wait with third-party call centers. 240+ languages are accessible. The tablets can also be used to provide comprehensive, whole person care by enabling access to medical specialists via telehealth and information about free community resources to address non-medical needs. Anthem plans to install hundreds more across California. (David Pryor, MD, ABL-Health LA)
Elemeno Health CEO Interviewed in Industry Journal
Arup Roy-Burman, CEO of Elemeno Health, is spotlighted in a recent Republic Journal interview. Topics discussed include: Arup's inspiration for founding Elemeno Health; his process for launching the company; the #1 skill entrepreneurs need to succeed; biggest challenges; favorite apps and tech devices; his vision for the future of healthcare; and more. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, ABL-Health OAK)
MedWand Turns Smartphone into a Digital Clinic
MedWand Solutions has announced that its clinical-grade telemedicine device has expanded its capabilities to mobile phones and is expected to be available for consumer purchase in late 2020. Empowering patients to receive physical exams on their phone during virtual visits from their doctors, MedWand also allows physicians to use their own smartphone device to securely examine a MedWand patient anywhere at any time. When used by a patient, the MedWand can allow clinicians to listen to heart and lungs, obtain basic vitals, look into a patient's ears, nose, and throat, obtain an EKG, and more. All of this information gets sent in real time to a clinician who watches, listens, and interacts through a secure video portal on their computer, and starting this fall, on their smartphone. (Bob Rose, ABL-Health OC)
Savi Group Describes How Medical Practices are Adapting to COVID-19
In How Medical Practices are Adapting to COVID-19, Savi Group outlines a variety of initiatives and protocols that different providers have put in place. Read other recent Savi Group blog posts here, including: "How Reducing Patient Wait Times Leads to Success"; "Medical Billing and Coding Tips from the Experts"; "How to Prepare Your Medical Practice for COVID-19 Outbreaks"; and "The Rise of Telemedicine During a Global Pandemic." (Sumit Mahendru, ABL-Health OC)
TECH INDUSTRY NEWS & TRENDS
NEWS & TRENDS
Microsoft Power Virtual Agents: Now you can build no-code chatbots without developers
While tools like Microsoft's Azure Bot Service make it relatively easy for developers to build and deploy bots, finding the time and necessary resources can often be a problem. That's where services like Power Virtual Agents (PVAs) come in, providing a software-as-a-service route to chatbots, without the need for developer experience. Part of Microsoft's Power Platform, PVAs are a member of a family of low- and no-code development tools targeted at business users who need an app now to solve a specific problem - aiming to make building a chat bot as easy as working with Excel macros. (Read Article: Tech Republic, 7/14/20)
The Dilemma of Running TikTok on Devices with Corporate Data
Social media apps are entrenched in data and the devices they sit on, some say, could make an entire company vulnerable. That brings us to the TikTok controversy. Concerned about the app's relationship to the Chinese government and possible surveillance, the U.S. government is assessing the national security risk of TikTok. While Amazon asked employees to delete TikTok from cellphones then quickly recanted, Wells Fargo requested a "small number" of employees to delete the app off corporate-owned devices. This led the CIO Dive team to ask: Is it a problem to run TikTok on devices with access to corporate data? (Read Article: CIO Dive, 7/20/20)
Future In-Car Technology Could Monitor Driver Health; Meanwhile, Tesla Anticipates Cars with Complete Autonomy This Year
Steve Surhigh, the VP/GM of automotive cloud services for Samsung-owned Harman, recently discussed some ways a car could monitor the driver's health. If the vehicle includes a system that monitors the driver's vital signs, and it detects something is noticeably wrong, having a teledoctor available could be part of the auto's connectivity package. Also, sensors in the steering wheel, similar to those found on treadmills or stationary bikes, could track your pulse. Alternatively, your car could receive this information from wearable devices, like smartwatches and fitness trackers. Data could be shared via Bluetooth or in-car 5G. Ford has floated the idea of burying six pulse sensors in the driver's seat. (Read Article: Digital Trends, 7/8/20)
Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said recently that he's "extremely confident" that his company's autos will have the basic functionality for level 5 (complete) autonomy this year. Tesla is also developing new heat-projection or cooling systems to enable more advanced computers in cars, Musk said. (Read Article: Reuters, 7/8/20)
California Investigating Google for Potential Antitrust Violations
California has opened its own antitrust probe into Google, intensifying the pressure on the search giant already in the middle of investigations by the Justice Department and a host of other states, according to three people with knowledge of the inquiry. The move by California's attorney general comes as Google has come under increasing scrutiny from both Congress and foreign regulators for its market conduct and acquisitions that have turned it into the world's top search engine and the most profitable online advertising company. (Read Article: Politico, 7/9/20)
COVID SILVER LININGS
Pandemic Creating Demand for PCs, Laptops; Microsoft Adjusts Windows 10X Plans
Remote working and schooling are undoubtedly fueling an increase in demand for PCs. IDC says PC shipments have increased 11.2% year-over year, while Gartner places it at a more modest 2.8%. Microsoft also reported an increase in demand for PCs during its latest earnings back in April, and a big overall jump in Windows usage. Microsoft is adjusting its Windows 10X plans thanks to the pandemic: the 10X operating system variant will now be arriving on traditional single-screen laptop devices first. Microsoft had originally planned to introduce Windows 10X on dual-screen devices, but the pandemic shifted the company's priorities. (Read Article: The Verge, 7/10/20)
Meanwhile, families are expecting to spend more on back-to-school shopping this year, partly because of e-learning tech needs spurred by the pandemic, a survey finds. Laptops, tablets, speakers, and headphones are likely to be big sellers, with the average K-12 family expected to spend nearly $800. (Read Article: Click Orlando, 7/19/20)
U.S. Gamers Have Spent Record $6.6 Billion in 2020
Video game spending in the US reached its highest point since 2010, according to a new NPD Group report, with sales through June reaching $6.6 billion on hardware, software, and accessories. It's the highest total for the first six months of the year since spending hit $7 billion a decade ago. Spending has been dramatically higher in 2020 than it was compared to last year, with sales through June up 19% year over year, and June sales specifically were up 26% compared to the same month in 2019. (Read Article: The Verge, 7/17/20)
Coca-Cola Introduces Contactless Technology to Pour Your Beverage
Coca-Cola will launch a contactless Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser, which allows customers to choose and pour drinks from their phones without having to create an account or download an app. Consumers can hold their camera up to the display, which will auto-scan a QR code and connect to the cloud to bring the machine user interface to their phone. Customers can then select from the full menu of brands and flavors, and the dispenser will subsequently pour their drink. (Read Article: USA Today, 7/13/20)
WFH VS. R2W
Remote Work is Here to Stay & Workers Feel More Productive, Surveys Find
A Gartner survey of 127 business leaders found that 82% plan to maintain a partial work-from-home structure even after COVID-19 is no longer a threat, and 47% plan to allow employees to do so permanently. Along with regular remote work allowances, other organizations are planning to allow flex days (43%) or flex hours (42%), and a small number (15%) are planning to transition to a workweek of four 10-hour days. No matter how an organization chooses to slice it, there's going to be widespread changes to how many of them operate. (Read Article: TechRepublic, 7/14/20)
And, a recent Lenovo survey of 20,000+ respondents from across the globe found that 63% said that they are currently more productive working remotely than they were in the office. And 52% said they expect to continue in this new normal workplace, even if/when restrictions are lifted. (Read Article: TechRepublic, 7/15/20)
Tech Companies are Ending Leases, Consolidating Offices as Remote Work is Here to Stay
In the tech hubs of Seattle, Silicon Valley, New York and elsewhere, many CEOs are coming to the conclusion that real estate is not a worthwhile expense. Start-ups that never intended to be fully distributed are letting leases end or looking for ways to get out of longer deals, while bigger employers are closing facilities, consolidating space, and exploring ways to provide workers with flexible arrangements and options closer to home to avoid long commutes. (Read Article: CNBC, 7/13/20)