How Google’s Nexus 7 is disrupting the tablet market

While Apple has long reigned supreme in the tablet space with the iPad, demand for the Google Nexus 7 has taken the tablet world by storm. Christopher Herot, CEO of SBR Health and a connoisseur of tablets, can speak knowledgeably on the design, quality and function of today’s tablets by big name brands like Apple, Microsoft and Google. At SBR Health, tablets are an essential tool for communication among patients, providers and members of the care team, and Christopher makes evaluating the quality of video interaction on mobile and tablet devices a top priority. In this interview, Christopher shares his thoughts on the Google Nexus and its advantages over Apple’s iPad.

Why the Google Nexus?

The open question with all these things is how will Google deal with the huge lead in the tablet space that Apple established with the iPad. The iPhone got an early start with mobile but there are now more Google phones than Apple phones, so what’s the problem with tablets?

Google did the Nexus tablet because they were impatient with how fundamentally horrible the other tablets were. Some of them really aren’t that bad. Take the Motorola Xoom. It’s not bad for techies but when I have to decide which one to throw in my bag, the iPad is the more pleasant one to deal with. It’s brighter, sharper and has more apps.

What’s the Google experience?

I like my Google phone better than the iPhone. Google engineers felt they could do better so they worked with Samsung to build the Nexus. The Nexus brand is the more pure Google experience, and it’s pretty good. The other reason why I think it’s really interesting is that it’s at a size between the iPad and iPhone.

What are the advantages?

While some might say the Google tablet is an awkward size, I was pleasantly surprised that the screen is large enough to read but can also be used for video calls.

For our purposes, the Nexus is small enough to fit in the pocket of a doctor’s lab coat. Doctors laugh because their pockets are already jampacked. They could make room for a tablet the size of the Google Nexus. While an iPad is more convenient than a laptop, it still is big.

What are your predictions for adoption?

I expect the Nexus will become an unconscious carry device. These are things like a phone, wallet and watch that you carry everyday. You don’t think about these things. When I go on a trip, I bring a laptop. When I’m going to a conference or an event, I bring my tablet. The Google sized tablet is along the same line. There are places where the iPad is awkward.

In the clinical space, the Google tablet easily fits in the labcoat pocket.

There are a number of use cases where doctors may want to give devices to patients. When deciding between an iPad at $800 and the Nexus at $200, Google has an advantage. That price point makes it something they could give to people to accomplish a specific task. With the iPad, you have to justify the price.

What are the disadvantages?

The thing that’s missing from the Google tablet is a wide area network card. It doesn’t work on Verizon or Sprint. You have to tether through your phone or use the wireless LAN. That’s a bit of a limitation. I don’t think that will be a big deal at hospitals because most hospitals are putting up Wifi throughout.

The reason I still carry the iPad is that it has a lot of my favorite apps.

A question for the Google Nexus is will there be a killer app? It used to be that people bought a PC to use a spreadsheet and the Apple for desktop publishing. With the iPod, it was the iTunes store.

Wow Factor?

We can’t dictate to our customers what device to use and want to accommodate what they’re asking for. Right now, they’re all asking for the iPad. But everytime I pull the Google tablet out of my pocket, people go ‘Wow.’ I was at the Apple store buying my wife an iPhone for her birthday and impressed the guy at the Apple store when I pulled out my Google phone to get her account information. The Nexus wow factor is unbeatable.

News on the Nexus:

Fueled by Tablets, Telemedicine Market to Grow More Than 300% by 2018

Five reasons the Google Nexus beats the iPad

Nexus 7 Sales: Google Tablet Going Fast at Retail Chains

Google Nexus versus other tablets

Hospital networks take key role in healthcare as IT makes further clinical advances

Nexus 7 Sold Out: Google Halts 16GB Shipments, Surprised by Demand




XX in Health: A woman of grace and leader in healthcare

Alexandra Drane goes by Alex, and she is graceful, elegant and full of passion.

In spite of today’s healthcare challenges, Alex is always the first to attack the elephant in the room. Problems big, small, personal, professional, Alex takes them all in stride and doesn’t stop working. In fact, she hasn’t stopped working, and her career is representative of her infinite tenacity. She got her start attending business meetings with her father at an early age and later went on to found several healthcare ventures and nonprofits, and is the current founder, Chief Visionary Officer and Chair of the Board of Eliza Corporation. A mother, daughter, wife, boss, mentor, friend, coach, leader, Alex is an exception to the male majority of healthcare executives. In this interview, Alex shares her motivations and passion for improving healthcare and changing the world.

When did you make the decision to focus on healthcare? 

Sometimes the universe serves something up for you. It just gives it to you and ultimately becomes the greatest gift.

I believe that you should do something everyday that you love, and I want to spend all my time helping people improve their lives. I realize that healthcare is at the core of what makes people healthy and happy.

What goals did you set, and how did you go about achieving them? 

I think there are so many different types of people in the world. There are those who plan and those who don’t. I’ve never been a planner. Wherever I am, I want to have made a very informed, heartfelt and conscious decision. Sometimes the greatest adventures happen in little steps that you build over time.

What are your shortcomings/challenges?

My biggest challenge in life and what keeps me from being successful that I’m incredibly inpatient and care enormously about what I’m doing and the outcomes. That obviously has wonderful benefits but can also be damaging because I bring everything to every moment. That can be overwhelming and dangerous. I work all the time to get myself to relax. Sometimes I do that successfully and sometimes I don’t.

I love getting older, and I’m about to turn 41 in one week and I can’t wait. I love being 40. Forty means I’m legit in that I’m carrying a lot of scars. You naturally become more tempered. If you bring your best foot forward everyday, this enables you to survive. Age doesn’t matter.

How do you define yourself?

I’d like to think that I’m defined by my genuine love for people. I find them fascinating. I want to know what makes them tick, what makes them happy and keeps them happy. What makes them feel good about their place in the world.

What’s on your roadmap of things to do/achieve?

I want to eat at a restaurant by myself. I think it would be bold and brave. All the things that I want to do, I’m doing now. I want the healthcare space to broaden the definition for the things it’s responsible for.

I consider a walk down the street an opportunity to interact. I think as humans we’re obligated to bring joy to others.

It tortures me to think that people are facing real problems that we’re not addressing.

Why are there so few women today in the healthcare space?

I think the right answer is to look at the projector. I think there are increasing numbers of women in the healthcare space, and I think this number will only increase. I believe that the things that kept women from being active in the workplace have changed so fundamentally. We’re only going to see more women in this role. There’s a new generation of women coming through. Women who have the confidence, are role models and have the fundamental belief that they can be successful. These numbers are going to be drastically different five years from now.

What would be your tips to women starting out in healthcare?

My first and fundamental advice is to know the things that make you who are and keep going.

Women have the ability to see the challenges impacting people and really talk to what’s there with grace and make a difference. I think you have to own your scars and share your experiences.

You’re going to have bad days.

Things are imperfect. I think the thing for all women to remind themselves is to find joy in the things you love.

*Note: This post was written to support this week’s XX in Health, which recognizes today’s accomplished women in healthcare. Visit XX in Health to learn more.





Blending mHealth and Telemedicine

The World Congress hosted three conferences in one space this week at the Colonnade here in Boston with a great pool of innovators and thought leaders in the mHealth and telemedicine space.

While the three conferences – mHealth, mHealth Innovation Exchange and the Leadership Summit on Telemedicine – were all unique in focus, I think they could have easily been combined into one conference. With discussions on the latest technologies and initiatives transforming healthcare today, it was hard to choose between attending an mHealth or telemedicine sessions, as they are really one in the same.

Alex Nason, Director of Telehealth at Johns Hopkins Medical, summarized the three conferences’ theme well. ‘It’s the connection to health service delivery that matters.’ Both mHealth and telemedicine are services and means for improving the quality and delivery of care. Connecting payers, providers with patients, we’re all in the ‘service’ of innovating care. And it’s a good service to be in.

In case you missed it, here are the highlights:


-Consumer Trends for Mobile Solutions

-Building Scalable and Sustainable mHealth Behavior Change

-Joslin Everywhere Diabetes Mobile Health Initiative

-Connected Mobile Health Apps and Consumer Engagement

-Intersection of Social Media, Games and mHealth

-Mobile Monitoring for Chronic Conditions

-Global mHealth Perspectives and Challenges

Telemedicine Summit:

-Transitioning to Virtual Care Models

-Telemedicine Funding Opportunities and Current Initiatives

-Pediatric Specialist Care Delivery via Telemedicine


-Legal Requirements of Telemedicine

-Virtual Care Team Coordination

-Social Media and Telemedicine

-Prescribing via Telemedicine

The Virtualization of Care

This year’s World Congress Leadership Summit on Telemedicine features a great lineup of speakers. Joining innovators from major hospitals and healthcare delivery organizations, we’re excited to hear about the industry-wide interest and demand for telemedicine use in care delivery.

One of the more interesting sessions was the keynote panel discussion on the Joslin Diabetes Center’s ‘Joslin Everywhere’ diabetes mobile health initiative and efforts to virtualize the delivery of care.

Panelists included Chief Medical Officer Martin Abrahamson, Chief Information Officer Ed Charbonneau and WebCare Program Manager Paul Penta. The focus of their panel was on efforts to improve quality, extend their specialist reach by supporting providers at affiliate sites, improving clinical metrics and collaboration with partners in the healthcare field. Through the use of new and innovative tools to train and engage patients to promote better care management, Joslin is establishing itself as a leader in diabetes care and ensuring care anywhere and ‘everywhere.’

Stay tuned for more updates throughout and after the conference.

What’s wrong with telemedicine?

While studies have shown that successful use of videoconferencing and real-time communications can profoundly benefit patients and doctors alike, how do we define success?

Telemedicine has been in use now since the 80’s but due to complexity, specialized equipment, expensive network infrastructure and poor Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement policies, it remained limited to a small number of users. These challenges made it impractical to use televideo technologies for care delivery on a larger scale.

Today, low cost and ubiquitous technologies do exist that can facilitate a world in which videoconferencing has a place on the desk of every doctor, nurse and clinician. However, what is needed at the clinician level are applications designed specifically for the health care industry with televideo as a method of communications.

What does this mean?

As studies have shown that health care outcomes improve when truly collaborative communication takes place among patients, doctors and specialists, televideo is becoming more mainstream. But for televideo to be both successful and effective, televideo technologies must be user friendly, highly secure, low cost and fully customizable.

Is that all?

Fixing televideo goes beyond cost and complexity. While there are a number of innovative televideo technologies, there is still the problem of integrating televideo seamlessly into clinical workflow. The success of any technology depends only 10 percent on the technology and 90 percent on how the technology is integrated with existing workflows.

To deliver care successfully and effectively across the healthcare continuum, televideo must be mapped to existing workflows to improve patient and clinician use experiences and to minimize change management issues.

Change is good but it’s not always great.

To make televideo great, let’s start with improving the usability.



iMedicine and Mobile Panel

SBR Health hosted a panel discussion at Boston’s first ever iMedicine and Mobile Summit on ‘Trends in Utilizing Mobile Televideo Technologies to Improve Healthcare Access.’

Studies have shown that successful use of real time communications such as televideo can profoundly benefit patients and doctors alike. Health care outcomes improve when truly collaborative communication takes place among doctors, specialists. However, until recently the specialized equipment, complexity and expensive network infrastructure required by video, as well as poor Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement policies made it impractical to utilize televideo technologies for the delivery of care unless the patient was a great distance from the doctor.

Now, changing reimbursement models and low-cost mobile based televideo technologies are making it easy and cost effective to utilize televideo in a wider array of patient and inter-clinician interactions. Hence, it is now practical to utilize televideo for a much larger population of patients who may not need to travel long distances but still be able to be better served if they could avoid traveling. With these types of applications, health care professionals would have simple efficient communications tools to increase access to specialists, raise the overall levels of patient care, and improve delivery of treatment.

Our featured panelists included Rick Hampton, Wireless Communications Manager at Partners HealthCare; John Moore, Founder and Managing Partner at Chilmark Research; Adam Strom, Director of Research and Design at WorldClinic; David Judge, Medical Director, Ambulatory Practice of the Future at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Shawn Farrell, Telemedicine and Telehealth Program Manager at Children’s Hospital Boston.  Chris Herot, CEO of SBR Health, served as moderator for the panel.

SBR Health Q&A: The mobile shift in healthcare

Everything is moving to mobile these days, and healthcare is no exception. Christopher Herot, co-founder and CEO of SBR Health, is a recognized business and technology leader who has spent years developing and evaluating video, mobile and real-time video communications solutions. In this one-on-one interview, Chris shares his thoughts and predictions for how mobile technology will transform the healthcare space and beyond. From how we buy care to keeping in touch with family, mobile’s intersection and influence on our daily lives is significant.

How have you seen this shift?

There was a time when every young ambitious professional had a day planner. The iPad is now the equivalent. It’s your phone, calendar, email, entertainment, and computer – your method of communication for everything. This has really transformed a number of industries. Retailing is now different. People can do comparison-shopping using their phone. It’s even changed travel to some degree. You can get your boarding pass on your phone and check into places on Foursquare. For the longest time, it looked like healthcare was not a tech-savvy field but this is quickly changing.

What role does mobile play in the healthcare space?

iPads are taking the medical world by storm. They’re just the right form factor for healthcare. Apple reimagined what you can do with a tablet and has provided for an entirely new experience. Doctors don’t want other tablets. They want the iPad.

Some thought early tablets failed in terms of usability based on size but Apple demonstrated it wasn’t just about size but more about the user experience. There’s something truly unique about being able to type medical information while looking at your patient. This increases physician-patient engagement.

What’s the benefit?

There’s proven clinical value. Tablets have given doctors better access to tests and other medical information. A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that iPads help doctors be more efficient at ordering tests and procedures for their patients. My thesis is that iPads allow physicians to do more in real time and make healthcare more convenient.

The real and long-term benefit of mobile technology is in bending the cost curve in healthcare. This goes beyond getting doctors to accept lower fees and cut down on unnecessary tests. The bulk of the cost is to get Americans to stop eating so many donuts. The way you make people healthier is to make it easier and convenient for people to see their doctor. This will drastically cut healthcare costs.


The demand for mobile reflects where we’re at as a society. The doctor is not always in his office ready to take your call, and so many of us are on the go. Being able to get access to the healthcare system wherever you are – work, home, out and about – is really critical. To make that work, we have to be able to see the patient and share what we see with other people. Tablets are small enough to be portable but also have real data on the screen.

How will this be adopted?

It will happen fastest where the payment model is evolving away from the fee for service. You’re seeing this with concierge practices. Once you make it easier for patients and doctors to do a virtual visit, I expect the adoption will expand to other parts of the world. There are places like the payers and insurance companies who see this as a way to improve healthcare delivery. You’ll see this first in places that have the luxury of not having to worry about restrictions. Concierge and post-acute follow up are prime examples.

SBR Health is developing the technology that will enable videoconferencing and real-time communications to benefit patients and doctors alike. Healthcare outcomes improve when collaborative communication that’s convenient takes place among doctors, specialists and patients, and we’re working to make it as simple and secure as possible.

Health Science’s Contribution to Health Care

The global expansion of the Internet and mobile communications technology has made a host of new connections possible, perhaps none so significant as those in the healthcare sector. Health science professionals have been hard at work over the past few years to harness technological avenues to bring less expensive, more efficient health care to patients all over the world. Telemedicine initiatives, digital information sharing between medical professionals, and the use of mobile phones to help diagnose and deliver care are only some of the ways technology is changing the face of modern medicine. Health scientists in all disciplines, from biology and chemistry to immunology and epidemiology, are actively contributing to advances in mobile health initiatives, known commonly as “mhealth.”

One of the most basic forms of mhealth involves digital exchanges between doctors and established patients. Video conferencing is one of the most common forms of communication. Rather than call the doctor for an appointment to check out a sore throat, a sprained foot, or other minor ailment, a patient can simply log on to a video chat with his or her primary care provider.

Christopher Herot, Chief Executive Officer of SBR Health, identified two primary benefits of video conferencing in a January 5, 2012 release  describing the company’s lessons learned over the past year. “The obvious role, as pioneered in dermatology and neurology, was using video as a diagnostic tool,” Herot said. This sort of remote care is generally viewed as quite efficient, as it reduces travel and wait times, and cuts down on interaction costs.

The other benefit was psychological. “Video, like an in-person visit, ensures a higher level of trust between the patient and doctor,” Herot said.  Other alternatives to an in-person visit, such as e-mailing or calling the office, can be a bit more impersonal, which can lead patients to withhold information or not disclose all symptoms.

Technology is also increasingly intersecting with health care in rural communities. More isolated patients can save long trips to see specialists in bigger towns or cities by logging on to internet-based medical portals or visiting local clinics with mhealth capabilities. With the right tools, a world of cutting-edge medicine is accessible almost anywhere. Local doctors can upload records, test results, and x-ray scans, and send them to specialists at larger tertiary hospitals instantaneously. Feedback and consultations happen just as fast.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services announced a nearly $12 million grant at the end of 2011 to help develop rural mhealth initiatives in the U.S. “We need health information technology to bring our health care system into the 21st century,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in announcing the grant on September 2.  “These funds will help safety net providers acquire state-of-the-art health information technology systems to ensure the delivery of quality care to some of the most remote areas of our country.”

Innovations in bridging health science with technology are not limited to developed nations, however. Initiatives like the United Nations Foundations’ mHealth Alliance and the public/private Stop TB Partnership involve a range of health scientists in leveraging technology, particularly that associated with mobile phones, to bring medical care to countries in Africa and South Asia.

According to the mHealth Alliance, mobile phones are one of the best ways for health care providers to “reach the unreached,” particularly where treatment of specific illnesses and conditions is concerned. Phones “can empower the public with information, enable remote health workers, reduce inefficiencies, provide training, improve monitoring of activities and outcomes, support remote diagnostics, and support electronic payments,” the alliance said in a 2010 technology briefing.

Field workers studying disease outbreaks and mapping treatment zones in remote areas can easily connect with lab technicians, biologists, and researchers across the globe with a simple text message or phone recorded video. Bio-informatics specialists can easily analyze reported data, and public health experts can work with physicians to devise treatment and diagnosis regimens that can be immediately implemented. As more health scientists get involved in technology-driven health care, the more changes, advancements, and improvements the field is likely to see in the months and years ahead.

By Jocelyn Salada, Guest blogger, Contact:

Children’s Innovation Day

At the heart of innovation are ideas. Ideas for something new and different. While there’s no shortage of ideas in the medical world, innovation doesn’t come so easily.

Children’s Hospital Boston’s first ever Innovation Day showcased the hospitals’ work to accelerate innovation by supporting innovators’ novel ideas. The featured innovators, which included chief officers, physicians and nurses at Children’s, shared their personal and professional motivation behind their ideas, the challenges they’ve faced along the way and hoped for outcomes. While the speakers’ ideas varied in complexity and development, they embodied Children’s commitment to advancing healthcare innovation.

‘Change is essential, and we need to invest,’ Dr. Pedro Del Nido, Chief of Cardiac Surgery and a longtime leader in innovation at CHB, said in his opening remarks. A featured speaker and moderator of the ‘Healthcare Device Innovation’ session, Del Nido attributed Children’s interest in supporting innovation to the inventors of new and novel ideas.

‘There are many challenges along the way but it’s rewarding to know that you’re doing something that no one else knows how or can do,’ Del Nido said.

To aid ‘inventors’ in the development of their ideas, Children’s assists with funding, testing and getting approval from regulators.  Two of the speakers—Dr. Hiep Nguyen, a man of many titles including pediatric urologist, surgeon and director of the Robotic Surgery Research and Training Center, and Dr. John Kheir, chief fellow in Critical Care Medicine, shared the inspiration behind their projects, and Children’s help in the overall development.

Nguyen, who is recognized as a serial innovator at Children’s, gave a talk on ‘Human Inspired Technology: an Implantable Kidney Dialysis Unit.’ From the spark of an idea and initial sketch on a tablecloth, Nguyen worked with Children’s to develop an implantable dialysis unit that offered the benefits of hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, while also avoiding the disadvantages of scarring and infection. Inspired by a friend and colleague undergoing dialysis, Nguyen is passionate in developing a technology that will improve the effectiveness of dialysis, and in turn, quality of life for patients.

‘You may have a lot of ideas but few things that you’re passionate about,’ Nguyen said. ‘Passion is the driving force. You have to go after the ones that mean the most to you.’

Like Nguyen, Kheir also shared the motivation behind his development in his talk, ‘When a Patient Needs Air: Injectable Microbubbles that Release Oxygen into the Blood.’ Focused on improving outcomes of patients who undergo cardiac arrest, Kheir developed a technology that packages oxygen in microbubbles for direct delivery via injection to blood and tissue. The technology can be used to treat patients who have undergone cardiac arrest by delivering oxygen to the heart issue quickly and directly. Developed to improve outcomes and ultimately save lives, Kheir is hopeful this technology will be deployed in every ambulance, operating room and emergency room. Children’s, he said, is helping make this a reality.

‘The most important thing is to believe in your idea,’ Kheir said. ‘The degree to which you believe is transmitted to others.’

With the help of Children’s, Kheir feels confident that his technology and other ideas can make a real impact on healthcare. Thanks to Children’s, the featured speakers at Children’s Innovation Day, all have ideas in development. Change has only just begun.


‘Innovate or Fail’

The role of innovation was the theme at the Harvard Business School’s 9th Annual Healthcare Conference. In the introductory keynote and subsequent panel discussions, the need for innovation in today’s healthcare industry was made clear.

Among the practitioners, healthcare organizations and consumers present, innovation was agreed to be the ultimate challenge at hand, and essential to the success of healthcare reform. Speakers offered different perspectives on the purpose of innovation and their approach to finding ways to innovate to avoid becoming artifacts of the old healthcare system.

Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plan (AHIP) delivered the opening keynote, ‘Health Care Innovation in the Context of Rising Health Care Costs.’ As the voice of health insurance plans, Ignagni has a wealth of knowledge and passion for health policy.  In regard to innovation, Ignangi sees innovation as the tool for creating value. Through new payment models and the adoption of new technologies for care delivery, Ignagni sees an opportunity for collaboration and innovation. Innovation, she said, benefits both the public and private sector by enabling more efficient and effective care, which at the end of the day, creates value.

Katie Szyman, Senior Vice President and President of Medtronic’s Diabetes business, oversees research, development, sales and marketing for Medtronic’s insulin infusion pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems. In the ‘Devices/Diagnostics: Enabling New Treatment Paradigms’ panel discussion, Szyman was one of three panelists that addressed how new markets and applications for devices and diagnostics are helping patients assess their health and take preventative action early to help improve health outcomes and control healthcare costs.

According to Katie, value is linked to the support of innovation. Through the use of new technologies, value is attributed from increased patient satisfaction and improved health outcomes. When asked about the FDA’s influence on the use of new and innovative devices, Katie acknowledged that FDA regulations have indeed slowed down development and caused shrinkage in investments in new technologies, resulting in the rise in medical tourism and or ‘inverse innovation.’ Despite the negative outlook, Katie foresees more collaboration between the CMS and FDA that she hopes will improve the review process and support of new medical products.

Innovation was also addressed at the ‘Healthcare IT: A Blueprint for the Data Revolution,’ a panel focused on the revolution in the quality and accessibility of data, and its potential to transform healthcare. When properly deployed, IT was said to be the true leader in innovation, spawning new business models and industries. Robert Cosinuke, Chief Marketing Officer of Athena Health; Graham Gardner, CEO and Co-Founder of Kyruus; and Steven Wardell, Vice President, Marketing and Business Development of Activate Networks  shared their insights on new IT developments that are improving collaboration and communications between patients and providers. The shared opinion among the panelists was that the key to value creation is through the support of health IT technologies.

Other discussions at the conference featured payors/providers, biotech/pharma, entrepreneurship/venture capital, and private-public partnerships. With leaders from some of today’s largest and most innovative healthcare organizations, the conversations were informative and tied to health reform. The pressure to innovate or fail was felt. This year, next year, and in the years to come, the focus on innovation to create value will persist.