HEALTH

Continua Health Alliance develops first end-to-end connected health solution

BY Michael Johnsen

BEAVERTON, Ore. Wireless management of such health devices as blood glucose meters and blood pressure monitors took one step closer to becoming reality Monday with the Continua Health Alliance announcement of the first end-to-end connected health solution based on the Continua architecture.

IBM, Nonin Medical, and Vignet will demonstrate the end-to-end solution this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, and illustrate how data from consumer health devices can be transmitted to a variety of destinations, including hospitals, medical offices and patient information systems.

In the demonstration, data from a Continua Certified Bluetooth-enabled wireless pulse oximeter from Nonin Medical will be sent to a P.C. manager running the Vignet Connected Health Services platform using the Continua device interface standard. The manager will upload the data to an IBM server using the Continua WAN interface standard. From there, the IBM server can send the data, using the Continua interface, to various service providers such as healthcare facilities, disease management services or personal health record services.

“IBM is committed to enabling connected home health solutions such as remote patient monitoring, which have great potential to improve patient outcomes and deliver more affordable health care,” stated Katherine Holland, GM for IBM Global Life Sciences. “Demonstrating an end-to-end implementation of the Continua architecture is an important milestone, and IBM is pleased to partner with Continua members to build an ecosystem of interoperable, personal connected health solutions.”

The publication of the Continua Health Alliance Version One Design Guidelines last year paved the way for Continua members to develop compliant connected health products and services. The Continua interoperability guidelines specify how to use existing standards to build interoperable personal healthcare solutions. The group’s next design guidelines, expected in the first half of 2010, will include two wireless technology standards for low power radios and will enable new devices, additional use cases and extend the capabilities of devices in the Continua Health Alliance ecosystem.

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Decision Resources projects same U.S., Europe patient share of ulcerative colitis biologic

BY Allison Cerra

WALTHAM, Mass. A new report by Decision Resources revealed that a biological therapy with a mechanism of action other than tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors, used for the treatment of moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, would earn a 25% patient share in both the United States and Europe.

The report, “Ulcerative Colitis: Gastroenterologists Identify Emerging Drugs That Will Challenge the Benchmark Therapy Infliximab for Moderate to Severe UC,” finds that two emerging TNF-alpha inhibitors — Abbott/Eisai’s Humira and Centocor Ortho Biotech/Merck/Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma/Janssen’s Simponi — will earn Decision Resources’ proprietary clinical gold standard status for ulcerative colitis in 2013 following their approval for the indication. Both Humira and Simponi have competitive advantages over sales-leader Remicade in efficacy, delivery, and safety and tolerability.

“Although clinical trial data are limited, interviewed experts believe that both Humira and Simponi’s fully human composition will translate into incremental advantages in efficacy for maintenance of remission and maintenance of response compared to Remicade, which is a chimeric monoclonal antibody,” said Decision Resources analyst Kathryn Benton.

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HHS debuts H1N1 vaccine ad during football games

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services is continuing to advocate getting the H1N1 influenza vaccine, even this late into the season, as the agency announced last week the launch of a new H1N1 flu vaccination advertisement that aired during four college football bowl games held over the New Year’s holiday.

The ad is aimed at encouraging young people and all Americans to get vaccinated against the H1N1 flu.

“Young Americans have been especially hard hit by the 2009 H1N1 flu,” stated HHS secretary Sebelius. “Sports events are important opportunities to encourage fans, athletes, young adults and all Americans to protect themselves by getting the H1N1 vaccine. We hope that college athletic teams across the country will continue to join us in the fight against the H1N1 flu by getting vaccinated and encouraging others to get vaccinated too.”

The spot ran during the Outback Bowl, Gator Bowl, Valero Alamo Bowl and the GMAC Bowl and can be seen at www.Flu.gov.

With more than 110 million doses of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine now available, “all Americans are encouraged to get vaccinated and protect themselves and their loved ones during flu season, which typically lasts from October until May,” the agency stated.

For the week ended Dec. 26, rates of reported influenza-like illnesses continued to decline, though nationwide ILI incidence is still higher than is typical for this time of the year.

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