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APPLE WILL FINALLY REPLACE THE FAX MACHINE IN HEALTH CARE

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We’ve seen some spectacular advances in fields ranging from surgery to gene editing, but health care still faces a lackluster problem: Many patients can only get health records from their doctor if the fax machine is working.

Even when records are stored electronically, different chunks of every patient’s health information sit in inaccessible electronic record systems in different doctors’ offices.

Anyone who needs their medical files gets them either printed or faxed or has to log on into separate portals for each doctor and hospital, and even then getting view-only access. That’s a huge pain. View-only apps can’t access data to help patients share information with family and health-care providers, make decisions, monitor disease, stay on course with medications, or just stay healthy.
I believe every patient deserves a bank account of sorts for their health data, under their control, with deposits made after every health encounter. After my colleagues and I demonstrated an open, free version of this bank account idea to companies in 2006, Google and Microsoft launched similar personally controlled health records, known as GoogleHealth and Microsoft HealthVault. Walmart and other employers offered our version, called Indivo, as an employee benefit.

Unfortunately, even these industry giants couldn’t shake loose data from the computer systems in doctors’ offices or make the case to patients that curating the data was worth the effort.

But more than a decade later, things are finally changing.

Using Apple’s iPhone Health app, patients will soon be able to download and view health records on their phones.

Apple’s product enters the health sector under different circumstances.

Today, a lot more patient data is electronic after a $48 billion federal investment in promoting the adoption of information technology to providers, initiated under legislation called the HITECH Act. But those products, mostly older software and purchased at enormous expense, still don’t promote record sharing with doctors or patients.

Recognizing this unacceptable limitation and having received a generous grant for a tiny fraction of that federal investment, our team created a program called Smart. Smart is an interface to make doctors’ electronic health records work like iPhones do. Apps can be added or deleted easily. The major electronic health record brands have all built this interface into their products.

Apple uses Smart to connect the health app to hospitals and doctors’ offices. The good news for patients, doctors and innovators is that Apple chose a standardized, open connection over a proprietary, closed one. This approach lets any other app, whether running on the web, iPhone, or Android, use that same interface to connect.

So Apple will compete on value and customer satisfaction, rather than on an exclusive lock on the data.

Understanding the nuances

Apple’s approach could help Americans trying to stay well or manage their conditions. But only with follow-through by Apple, health systems, technology companies, patient groups, policymakers and government regulators. The emerging ecosystem’s nuances must be appreciated.

First of all, the floodgates for patient information are at least a crack open and will be hard to close. As patients gain access to their data, they will recognize it is incomplete and feel frustrated it’s not available everywhere. But, patients in need will drive demand for data access in their role as health consumers.

Secondly, the government is using law and regulations to compel an open interface. By selecting Smart on FHIR, a framework for exchanging health-care information electronically, Apple and its health-care launch partners mark the importance of standardization. A uniform approach is critical for scale. Imagine if every electrical product required a differently shaped 120V outlet.

Understanding this, Google, Quest Diagnostics, Eli Lily, Optum and many other companies are using the same interface to plug into health care.

Thirdly, while Apple is bringing health records to the phone, that data will still be “view only.”

In 2009, I had the chance to meet with Apple vice president Bud Tribble to talk about how the iPhone could serve health care. We concluded that crucial data — like the medication list — had to be as easy for iOS developers to use in their apps as contacts and location are now. I would not be surprised if this were the next step in Apple’s journey — making the health records available to iPhone app developers. Here, too, is an opportunity to chose open interfaces and to allow patients to export the data to another device.

Finally, competition in health care IT is hot.

Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook all have health-care divisions. Apple’s hardware, including sensors in the phone and watch, will monitor patients at home. Google’s artificial intelligence will lead doctors and patients to diagnoses and decisions. Amazon is reported to be looking atpharmacy management. Facebook has sifted through posts to detect and possibly intervene when users may be suicidal.

There are so many opportunities to compete. But locking up a patient’s data should never be one of them.

Dr. Ken Mandl directs the Boston Children’s Hospital Computational Health Informatics Program and is the Harvard Medical School Donald A.B. Lindberg professor of pediatrics and biomedical informatics.

 

 

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/30/apple-will-finally-replace-the-fax-machine-in-health-care-commentary.html

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Apple reportedly acquires VR startup ‘Spaces’

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Apple has now acquired another startup, Spaces, which has a team specialized in virtual reality technologies (VR). The acquisition was announced today by a Protocol report citing its own sources.

Spaces was created in 2016 by DreamWorks Animation veterans, and the startup has been developing VR products since then, including a Zoom add-on that allowed users to hold virtual reality video conferencing using animated avatars.

The company discontinued all its services last week without further details. The official Spaces website just mentions that the startup is now “heading in a new direction.”

Thank you to our users and partners who participated in our awesome VR video conferencing product and the many people who enjoyed our VR location-based entertainment attractions found at theme parks, theaters, and more.

According to the Protocol report, both Apple and Spaces did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the acquisition. The price paid by Apple on the Spaces startup is also unknown.

While it’s not certain that the team behind Spaces will join any VR related project at Apple, rumors suggest that Apple is working on AR and VR headsets for 2021 and 2022. Bloomberg says the headset will reportedly feature high-resolution displays and a “cinematic speaker system,” which should make it difficult for the user to notice the differences between real life and the virtual reality experiences the headset will provide.

As Apple continues to invest in its ARKit and new features such as the LiDAR scanner in the new 2020 iPad Pro, it’s plausible to expect that all of these technologies will be merged into a new product to offer advanced augmented and virtual reality capabilities.

Source: https://9to5mac.com/2020/08/24/apple-reportedly-acquires-vr-startup-spaces/

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Huawei Suddenly Strikes At Google With New ‘Fight’ To Beat Android

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“The world has been suffering for a long time,” rotating Huawei chairman Guo Ping told employees during a pep talk this week, referring to the lock Google has on the Android ecosystem. And so ended the executive silence on President Trump’s latest salvo, cutting Huawei’s access to the chipsets powering its flagship smartphones. Guo admitted the new sanctions would “cause certain difficulties… especially for high-end mobile phones,” but assured employees that “I believe we can solve them.”

The focus of Guo’s remarks was Huawei’s answer to the loss of Google from those mobile phones. Its alternative has been in the works since last year—part HarmonyOS operating system that can run across phones and other smart devices, but mostly the HMS replacement for Google Mobile Services, the apps and underlying services that drive the Android ecosystem. Huawei now has 600 million users on its ecosystem. This is a change that impacts all of those who stay with the brand.

“The world is also looking forward to a new open system,” Guo said. “And since Huawei helped Android to succeed, why not make our own system successful?” The devil’s very much in the detail here. HMS may be bigger, brighter and bolder, as Huawei claims, but the timing of its full HarmonyOS deployment on a smartphone remains unclear. Reports that this would happen by the end of this calendar year, perhaps as soon as with the launch of the imminent Mate 40, have been denied.

“HMS must have a ‘Foolish Old Man Moving Mountain Spirit’,” Guo said to rally his audience, “no matter how high the mountain is, dig an inch or less, persist and fight for a long time, we will definitely succeed.”

There is nothing especially new in these bullish HMS remarks. What is new, though, is the idea that anything can still be on track despite the admission from the company that its stockpiled custom chipsets will only see it through the launch of the Mate 40, with analysis assuming depletion early-ish next year. And right now there is no Plan-B, given that Trump has cut access to third-party alternatives.

“Don’t waste an opportunity in a crisis,” Guo Ping said of the latest U.S. attack, telling his audience that Huawei will invest heavily in HiSilicon to overcome the impact of the U.S. ban, albeit that will take time. “HiSilicon will grow stronger in several years,” he said, suggesting that the U.S. had created a situation that would ultimately work in Huawei’s favour, as long as everyone seized upon it.

Guo described the company’s decision to launch HMS as “brave,” and that “it was not an easy decision for us, as a smartphone company, to develop our own Huawei Mobile Services ecosystem. It’s very difficult and very challenging. But we delivered a better-than-expected script for the first year.”

Huawei has maintained throughout its time on the U.S. blacklist that it wants nothing more than a return to normal—where normal is Google restored to its new devices. But the longer this situation continues, the more one can assume Huawei isn’t going to backtrack on HMS, not given that it secures a future for the company’s smartphones that’s not reliant on U.S. tech.

Until now, Huawei execs have been notably diplomatic over the loss of Google and their preference being to restore the relationship between the two organizations. That’s why these comments are so remarkable—it’s a surprisingly hard stance with surprisingly emotive language to take over Google and the competitive landscape that may now emerge.

As hard as replacing Google is—and many analysts suggest it is near impossible, the chipset issue is much worse. But Huawei looks intent on playing a long-game, with the balance sheet to do so. As reported by China’s state-controlled Global Times, Guo “compared cultivating HMS as a protracted war that Huawei is destined to win in the end,” telling his audience (and Google) that “it’s plausible to have two systems in a world. And Huawei will be able to survive and take the lead even in an extremely hostile environment.”

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2020/09/06/huawei-premium-smartphone-replace-apple-iphone-samsung-galaxy-trump-ban-china/#36993e516ba2

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Facebook now lets you customize your Watch video feed with #Topics

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Facebook’s  video destination, Facebook Watch, is introducing a new feature called “Your Topics” that will allow you to tailor its feed to include more of the content you want to see. Currently, Facebook leverages its existing understanding of each viewer’s interests to personalize the Watch Feed. Topics, however, will allow users to more explicitly tell Facebook what sort of things they like by exploring and subscribing to various content categories.

The feature has been quietly rolling out to Facebook users in recent days, and now some portion of the user base already has the feature in their own Facebook app.

Among the first to notice the new addition was Twitter user @whimchic, who regularly spots updates and changes to mobile applications before they’re made public.

.@Facebook #FacebookWatch follow #Topics. Haven’t noticed this before. Not on ‘Watch’ too often, is this new?? pic.twitter.com/YuG5xcn4I8

— whimchic (@whimchic) August 31, 2020

They were alerted to the feature through a pop-up within Watch on the Facebook mobile app, we’re told. Here, a message explained that Facebook will now focus on showing more of the videos related to the #Topics you follow.

“Due to the many different ways your Watch feed is determined and how videos get categorized, you may see videos in your Watch feed that you aren’t interested in,” the message also warned. “Some videos related to the #Topics or Pages you follow may not appear in your Watch feed,” it noted.

Image Credits: Facebook app, screenshot via @whimchic

If you have the feature, you can access it for yourself by clicking on the Profile icon in the Facebook Watch tab on mobile, then clicking on the link to “Your Topics” to browse the available categories.

The subcategories which you can actually follow or unfollow are grouped underneath broader category pages, like Animals, Art & Design, Books, Business, Education, Fashion & Style, Food, Games, History & Philosophy, Home & Garden, Music, Performing Arts, Science & Tech, Sports, Travel & Leisure, TV & Movies and Transportation.

Image Credits: Facebook app, screenshot via TechCrunch

However, you can’t follow these high-level categories themselves — you have to click inside them to follow the individual topics. These can be very specific. For example, within Animals, you could follow #EndangeredSpecies or #GoldenRetrievers. Within Travel & Leisure, you could follow #TravelOceania or #WinterActivities. And so on.

But the subcategory listings are not comprehensive. Upon testing the feature within the Facebook app on my iPhone, a search for many other possible topics yielded no results. (What, no #Corgi videos?!) This, of course, could change in time as the feature is expanded.

Image Credits: Facebook app, screenshot via TechCrunch

Once you follow a topic, a message will confirm your choice and then the topic will appear under “Topics You Follow” in the Your Topics section of Facebook Watch.

From here, you can choose to unfollow the topic later if you decide you want to see less of it in your feed. And if you want to watch only videos from a given topic, you can tap the topic to delve into a customized feed.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=sarahintampa&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1300640943331258369&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftechcrunch.com%2F2020%2F09%2F02%2Ffacebook-now-lets-you-customize-your-watch-video-feed-with-topics%2F&siteScreenName=techcrunch&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

.@facebook #FacebookTopics on .@facebookapp pic.twitter.com/MAgr63q2Dv

— whimchic (@whimchic) September 1, 2020

The feature is now one of several ways users can personalize and filter their broader Facebook Watch feed.

You can also filter the feed by Live, Music, Following, Shows, Gaming and more, by tapping on the buttons at the top of the screen or from the What’s on Watch category picker that shows up as you scroll further down the Watch Feed.

Facebook also adds groupings like its editorially curated “Get Caught Up” section with videos from paid partners, or those groupings that are more algorithmically sorted, like the one with videos that got the most “HaHa’s” or “Loves” this week, or those that are popular with friends.

Image Credits: Facebook app, screenshot via TechCrunch

The new feature could make Facebook Watch more competitive with YouTube, where there’s historically been a heavier focus on connecting users with individual channels to subscribe to. But YouTube has also embraced Topics in its own way, with broad categories like “Gaming” and “Fashion & Beauty” that are now a part of its main navigation. And it puts personalized topics at the top of the home page directing signed-in users to categories of videos they tend to watch.

Twitter,  of course, has its own Topics feature, too, which showcases top tweets that match a particular interest. These may or may not contain videos, however.

Reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the addition of Topics, saying “we’re working on more ways to connect people with videos that match their interests.” No further details were provided.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/02/facebook-now-lets-you-customize-your-watch-video-feed-with-topics/

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