Survey: Which Smartphone Will Own the Healthcare Market?

Software Advice The folks at Software Advice are conducting a short survey on smartphones in the healthcare market with questions about applications, carriers and purchasing preferences. The survey closes tomorrow, Tuesday, July 28th at 5 PM CDT. It's only six questions long and takes just a couple of minutes to complete. Results will be emailed to respondents.

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Top Healthcare Conversations of 2008

Many of the great healthcare thinkers and bloggers wrapped up 2008 with end-of-year considerations of the important developments in their fields, and some looked ahead with predictions for 2009.

Three Inventions from Fischell

Award-winning medical inventor and philanthropist Robert Fischell spoke at the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference about three disruptive healthcare innovations he’s developing.

Real Time Monitoring for Dangerous Training

LifeshirtLifeshirt, a telemetry strap developed by Ventura, CA-based VivoMetrics Government Services, monitors the ECG, blood oxygen saturation, temperature, and activity level of first responders and reports results wirelessly once-per-second to incident commanders. The devices link responder-to-responder in a mesh network or in a star topology

Lifeshirts were used last month in a $750,000 study of firefighters’ training at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute at the
University of Maryland. Wearing full turnout gear and breathing apparatus, 200 firefighters ran through a smoke-filled
obstacle course, extinguished a third-floor fire and "rescued" a 140-pound dummy from a  burning room.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security funded the study to try to reduce the number of deaths that occur in the training of firefighters. Training deaths accounted for 10 percent of all on-duty U.S. firefighter deaths in the past decade, despite a drop in the number of firefighter deaths overall. In a job where the prep work is almost as dangerous as the real thing, real time monitoring could make training camp a lot safer.

Affordable French Bloodsuckers

Leechand321Last summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a French firm’s application for the use of leeches (Hirudo medicinalis) as a medical device. By definition, "a medical device is an article intended to diagnose, cure, treat, prevent, or mitigate a disease or condition, or to affect a function
  or structure of the body, that does not achieve its primary effect through a
  chemical action and is not metabolized." Especially useful in reconstructive surgery like regrafting amputated fingers and toes, the leeches emit an anesthetic and an anti-coagulant into the wound as they suck until the patient’s blood flow takes over.

The FDA didn’t approve any old leech. The medical variety, imported from France by Leeches USA Ltd., are carefully born and bred in carefully controlled environments to eliminate the possibility of infections. They may be pedigreed, but at $10 or so per critter they are also one of the cheapest therapies in modern healthcare.

Inhalable Insulin in Phase 3 Trials

Mannkindinhaler_1For everybody who hates needles, MannKind Corporation
(MNKD) has initiated
patient enrollment in its phase 3 safety trial of inhaled insulin in the United States.  The study will evaluate the pulmonary safety of the firm’s Technosphere Insulin product in
patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. An initial phase 3 efficacy study was announced in Europe in late 2004.

MannKind recently presented
data at the American Diabetes Association from a completed phase 2b study showing significant reductions in HbA1c levels over
a three-month period with no increase in the risk of hypoglycemia. The
Company is in the process of scaling up its manufacturing facilities in
anticipation of regulatory filings and commercialization. 

The MannKind inhaled insulin delivery system consists of a proprietary dry
powder Technosphere formulation of insulin that is inhaled into the deep
lung using a proprietary inhaler which
utilizes single-use, disposable plastic cartridges containing Technosphere Insulin powder.

Novel drug delivery techniques like inhalable insulin and inhalable vaccine make it easier for patients or caregivers — not just doctors — to administer medications. The powder format travels better and typically requires less stringent refrigeration. In some cases, medicines previously delivered by a doctor’s office injection could be delivered over the counter.

Mesh Wrap for Enlarged Hearts

Heartmesh_2Acorn Cardiovascular’s CorCap Cardiac Support Device (at left, click to enlarge), a proprietary mesh wrap implanted around the heart, is intended to control the progression of heart failure by improving the heart’s
structure and function. A proprietary multi-filament mesh knit of implant-grade polyethylene terepthaliate (PET-polyester), the device is now in clinical trials involving 300 patients with at 29 centers in North America. A recent report at the Late Breaking Clinical Trials Session of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions indicated that CorCap reversed heart failure progression and improved patient quality of life.