HIMSS13 Highlights: mHealth and Data Analytics

There were many events that captivated me at the recent HIMSS meeting in New Orleans. Here are a few of my favorites, some of which I had run across before, and some surprises.

A major highlight was Dr. Eric Topol’s keynote address, “On the Democratization of Medicine”. The mantra, “Nothing about me without me”, encapsulated the themes of patient engagement and participation


Topol showcased and, in some cases demonstrated, a host of mobile diagnostic apps and devices, almost all of which are based on the smart phone. He has been an early adopter of the AliveCor ECG app for the iPhone as he showed in this video on his blog in 2011.

Dr. Topol has now used iPhone ECG twice on airplanes to diagnose passengers in distress during flight. The first time was on a flight from Dulles to San Diego when the “is there a doctor on board” announcement came over the intercom. Topol put his iPhone ECG on the passenger’s chest, diagnosed myocardial infarction, recommended that the plane land, and the passenger was treated and survived.

The second time Topol used the iPhone device on airplane was on the way back home from the recent HIMSS meeting. This time the passenger was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, on a flight from New Orleans to Houston. He calmed and stabilized the patient, and the plane landed without further incident.


Topol also pulled out of his coat pocket a hand held ultrasound unit, the Vscan by GE Healthcare which he has also demonstrated several times as in this video. Dr. Topol uses the Vscan instead of the stethoscope for initial patient examinations of the heart. He said that it is about time the stethoscope, invented in 1916, was replaced.


Topol pulled up the sleeve of his jacket to show that he was wearing a mobile monitor on his wrist. The Visi Mobile by Sotera is a stand alone monitor currently FDA cleared for monitoring of 3-lead or 5-lead ECG, heart rate/pulse rate, SpO2, respiration rate, non-invasive blood pressure, and skin temperature. It transmits the information wirelessly to a monitoring station. The Visi Mobile provides “monitoring in motion” whether the patient is in or out of bed or in transport. Dr. Topol discusses the Visi Mobile on this NBC video. The Visi Mobile was on display at HIMSS13 in the Intermountain Health booth which had a marked increase in traffic after Topol gave them a shout out in his keynote address.

The HIMSS Analytics booth featured CapSite’s products and services. Capsite is a health technology research and consulting firm that was acquired by HIMSS Analytics in the fall of 2012. Capsite presents actual pricing and discount data in 160 different HIT categories across 1600 vendors drawn from public information. In addition to the pricing data, the actual contracts, proposals, and RFP’s are available as well, making this a unique resource.

The M*Modal Catalyst products take transcription beyond reporting into analytics. I was intrigued by the Catalyst for Radiology demo which first creates a structured report from an unstructured radiologist’s dictation, then the structured data is utilized to create real time feedback to the dictating radiologist or “guidance” in M*Modal’s terminology. This guidance can point out addition information required to meet coding requirements, achieve PQRS measures, or other compliance needs. Future possibilities are fascinating to contemplate.

And for those who missed it, here is Eric Topol’s keynote closing. The video parody of the famous scene from the Jerry Maguire movie with Topol and his staff doing the voice overs to make it, “Show Me the Data!”