Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Apple Makes Finding Medical Apps for Professional A Little Easier

From the Krafty Librarian post Apple Makes Finding Medical Apps for Professional A Little Easier.

According mobihealthnews, Apple quietly launched a new section on the AppStore directed just towards healthcare professionals.  The section which was referred to as an “iTunes Room for Healthcare,” has apps for both the iPhone and iPad intended specifically for healthcare professionals. (There appears to be about a dozen apps that are also for consumer use.)

Not only will this section be dedicated to apps for healthcare professionals but it will also internal categorization as well.  There are six categories for the medical apps: reference, educational, EMR and patient monitoring, imaging, point of care, and personal care (for consumers).  Mobihealthnews thinks that the “personal care” apps may have been included “as a means to help care providers recommend popular health apps to their patients.”

Finally!!!!!  That medical/health section had a lot of junk apps that people had to sift through to find good stuff, it is nice to see this professional section come about. My only question is how/who is adding and vetting the apps?  I hope it isn’t a free for all where app developers can just add their app if they feel like (meaning we could return to problem of chaff out numbering the wheat) but I would like it to be open enough that something that was good but accidentally left out or something newly created could be easily added.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

Health and Wellness Information and Tracking Apps

Last month I completed an online medical library class on mobile resources and apps.
The class, Get Mobilized – MLA,  is over. However the content is still online and  free to all.

One week was centered on Mobile Applications and included examples of and links to personal health/wellness apps.

These examples included calorie counters, symptom checkers, and record keepers.

I included these and others in the course at my Web site Health and Medical Resources and News Selected by Janice Flahiff.
Look for them in the Health Apps section.

Related Resources

November 10, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Health Apps the Cure for Anything That Ails You?

Currently health apps do not have to pass any standards for scientific validity. In fact, some could be harmful!
This article gives an overview of current regulation and evaluation efforts by the government, medical societies, and others.

Excerpts from the Health Care Blog item  Are Health Apps the Cure for Anything That Ails You?

With about 9,000 consumer health apps currently available in the iTunes store, it seems like almost all smart phone users can download their way to better health these days.

“Apple isn’t testing apps for their scientific validity,” said Dan Cohen, a social worker who has reviewed apps for their effectiveness.

Given the stakes, it’s no surprise that the government is starting to regulate these smart phone applications. Just last month, the Federal Trade Commission brought its first cases against the makers of two health apps. Each claimed to cure acne with colored lights emitted from cell phones.

“Smart phones make our lives easier in countless ways, but unfortunately when it comes to curing acne, there’s no app for that,” the FTC chairman said, when announcing the crackdown. The agency cited the makers of AcneApp, which had sold about 11,600 downloads of its $1.99 app, and the developers of AcnePwner, which sold 3,300 downloads of its 99 cent app.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meanwhile, proposed regulations this summer for apps that could be considered medical devices. The agency, which sought comments on its proposals until Oct. 19, may focus on apps that are accessories to established medical devices used by doctors, such as smart phone apps that can display X-rays.

It could also regulate apps that transform smart phones into medical devices by using sensors or other attachments. Already, the FDA has approved gadgets that turn smart phones into blood pressure-monitoring cuffs and pocket ultrasound machines.

Apps that connect to consumer devices, such as blood glucose meters, may be regulated, too, if the apps display or analyze the meters’ readings, the FDA says.

The majority of health apps will almost certainly not be considered medical devices and will escape government scrutiny. But some app developers are voluntarily going through the laborious FDA clearance process, in part, to convince the medical community that their products have real clinical value.

WellDoc, a Baltimore-based health care company, got FDA approval last year for its DiabetesManager, which provides automated diabetes coaching for patients. The app also was tested in a randomized clinical trial conducted by the University of Maryland’s medical school, which found that patients had a statistically significant improvement in their blood glucose levels after using the app for a one-year period.

Scientists have found flaws with other apps.

When a George Washington University professor conducted the first content analysis of behavior-modification apps, she discovered that few of the 47 smoking-cessation apps available in 2009 followed evidence-based health guidelines. Lorien Abroms, a public health professor, concluded that the apps had “serious weaknesses” because they did not link to quit lines or clinics or suggest ways for smokers to get social support from family and friends.

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Show Off Your Apps” Winners of the NLM software development challenge

From the NLM (National Library of Medicine) Web page

Show Off Your Apps Winners And Honorable Mentions

 

175th Anniversary Video ContestThe National Library of Medicine (NLM), wishes to congratulate the five winning entries in the Library’s software development challenge, “Show off Your Apps: Innovative Uses of NLM Information.” In addition, we thank all Entrants for participating in the Library’s first software development challenge!

 

Winners

 

GLAD4U

GLAD4U (Gene List Automatically Derived For You) is a new, free web-based gene retrieval and prioritization tool, which takes advantage of the NCBI’s Entrez Programming Utilities (E-utilities). Upon the submission of a query, GLAD4U retrieves the corresponding publications with eSearch before using Pubmed ID-Entrez Gene ID mapping tables provided by the NCBI to create a list of genes. A statistics-based prioritization algorithm ranks those genes into a list that is output to the user, usually within less than a minute. The GLAD4U user interface accepts any valid queries for PubMed, and its output page displays the ranked gene list and information associated with each gene, chronologically-ordered supporting publications, along with a summary of the run and links for file exports and for further functional enrichment analyses.

 

iAnatomy

Learning anatomy interactively with a touchscreen device is  dynamic and engaging. Having it as an app, makes the information available anywhere, anytime. iAnatomy is an exciting electronic anatomy atlas for iPhone/iPod touch. The images are interactive and zoomable. If a label is touched, the name of the structure is shown.  Images span from the face to the pelvis. The face and neck images and the female pelvis images are reconstructed from data from the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project. iAnatomy is designed to stand on its own and does not require an ongoing internet connection. Learning is reinforced with multiple quiz modes. Latin medical terminology is also included as an option for international use.

 

KNALIJ

The KNALIJ web application addresses the challenges and opportunities posed by ‘big data’ with a new generation of information visualization tools. It offers researchers, students and health consumers alike a technology platform with capabilities to rapidly discover and gain insights from the copious amounts of information being made available from the National Libraries of Medicine (NLM), through its data repositories such as PubMed. KNALIJ recognizes the ‘connections’ linking bio-medical and life sciences research and researchers around the world, and visualizes those linkages. This makes them clear, intuitive, and even playful by providing interactive ‘information communities’ for exploration, analysis, and education.

 

NLMplus

NLMplus is an innovative semantic search and discovery application developed by WebLib LLC, a small business in Maryland. NLMplus provides enhanced access to the vast collection of health and biomedical information and services made available by the world’s largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

 

Quertle

Quertle is an innovative website for searching and investigating the biomedical literature. Quertle uses advanced linguistic methods to find the most relevant documents instead of traditional keyword searching, which often returns an overwhelming list of uninformative articles. Quertle is geared to active life science professionals – both researchers and health care providers – and saves them considerable time and effort in finding the literature they need.  Quertle, available on the web using any browser, simultaneously searches multiple sources of life science literature, including MEDLINE.

 

Honorable Mentions

 

BioDigital Human Platform

The BioDigital Human Platform simplifies the understanding of health topics by visualizing anatomy, conditions and treatments. Similar to how geo-browsers such as Google Earth serve as the basis for thousands of location based applications, the BioDigital Human Platform will open up entirely new ways to augment healthcare applications. From the visual representation of concepts found on health portals, to step-by-step virtual guidance for surgical planning, to EHR integration so patients can finally understand their diagnosis, the BioDigital Human Platform will meet the learning demands of 21st century medicine.

 

DailyMedPlus

DailyMedPlus is an online application providing integrated access to pharmaceutical information available from various databases provided by the National Library of Medicine (NLM).  DailyMedPlus offers a high-performance unified search engine providing ranked, highlighted and full-text search results for patients and healthcare professionals who seek updated prescribing information.  As the only product of its kind, the application supports searching NLM databases for pharmaceutical products using trade and generic names, medical conditions, indications, contra-indications, side-effects, and also allows for the searching of these products by their physical characteristics (“red round”), providing image results in an in line intuitive layout.  Users benefit from comprehensive search results of more than 90,000 products displayed in over 26,000 organized and digitally curated monographs designed for browsing on a wide variety of desktop and mobile platforms.

 

Drug Diary

Drug Diary is an iOS (iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad) application that allows users to quickly build an inventory of prescribed and OTC medications they are currently taking or have taken in the past along with information on the associated prescribers and pharmacies.  From there, they are able to take notes outlining their experiences with these medications and generate reports to share with care providers.  Data entry is made quick and easy through the use of a locally cached copy of the NLM’s RxTerms dataset and intelligent data entry screens that require little to no typing.  The app leverages the data present in RxTerms to allow one tap access to another NLM source, MedLine Plus, which is a web portal that provides detailed information on the medications in the user’s library.

 

Molecules

Molecules is a 3-D molecular modeling application for Apple’s iOS devices, including the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.  It pushes the limits of mobile graphics processors by using advanced techniques to make realistic renderings of molecular models.  A touch-based interface allows for intuitive manipulation of these structures, so that they can be viewed from any angle and at any scale. While originally designed for researchers to view and present biomolecule structures on the go, the most popular use of Molecules has proven to be in education.  Chemistry teachers are using this application to explain common molecular structures to their students, and biology professors are demonstrating the form and function of biomolecules.  Many students already have iOS devices of their own, so they are able to make the lesson more personal by following along on their own iPhone or iPad.  The popularity of this approach is seen in the over 1.7 million downloads of this application to date.

 

ORKOV

Orkov is a Greek term for Hippocratic Oath that medical professionals, especially, physicians take all over the world. Orkov, an iPhone App for iOS 5 platform as well as for Android OS is a productivity smart phone application for hundreds of thousands of medical researchers who are the end users of PubMed.gov data all over the world.  Orkov empowers many researchers to search and browse research abstracts and full text research articles from the repository of PubMed.gov’s over 5,000+ research journals.  Orkov utilizes publicly available web service interface of PubMed.gov.  Majority of the features of PubMed.gov are wrapped into a powerful iPhone/Andorid App that is easy to use and navigate.

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Personal Feedback May Aid Fitness Progress & Some Related Apps

HealthDay news image

Researchers show that daily reinforcement helps adults stick to their exercise goals

From the 12 August 2011 Health News Today article by Robert Preidt

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) — Using personal digital assistants (PDAs) to give daily feedback to adults about their fitness progress helps them stick with an exercise program, a new study says.

University of Pittsburgh researchers followed 189 overweight adults for six months. The participants were assigned to one of three self-monitoring programs — paper records only, PDA without daily feedback messages, or PDA with daily feedback messages.

An example of a message for participants who met their exercise goals for the day: “Super job on the physical activity. Try to repeat this tomorrow.”

For those who didn’t achieve their daily goal, the message might have said: “Don’t get disheartened; you still have time to meet your physical activity goals. Hint: Take a walk; it will pay off!”…

Read the entire news article

Some related apps
(Go to Fitness and Web 2.0 on Webicina.Com for more Apps and related  fitness social media links (support groups, news, podcasts, etc,)


August 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Webicina – free access to curated online medical resources in social media for patients and medical professionals in over 15 languages.

Webicina provides curated medical social media resources in over 80 medical topics in over 17 languages.
It is now also available through a free iPhone application and also a free Android application 

Webicina is a free resource, with entry points at the home page for medical professionals and empowered patients

The topics for medical professionals are constantly being added. At this time they include oncology, bioinformatics, dermatology, emergency medicine, genetics, nutrition, public health, and surgery.
The topics or empowered patients are also constantly being added. At this time they include allergy, sleep, diabetes, fitness, stem cells, weight loss, and transplantation.

Each topic includes Web sites in the following areas, from carefully chosen reputable sites

  • News and Information
  • Blogs (websites with regular entries commonly organized in a reverse chronological order)
  • Podcasts (Audio files which one can download for immediate or future listening)
  • Community sites (including related Facebook groups and other forums)
  • Twitter and Friendfeed
  • Videos
  • Mobile phones (apps and software for smartphones)
  • search engines (more focused than Google, Yahoo, Bing…)
  • Slideshows
  • Clinical resources (medical professional section only — includes clinical cases and imaging)
Wish to keep up to date with just portions of Webicina?
Check out and sign up at the PeRSSonalized Medicine page (you may have to select a language)


August 1, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 of the Top Health Apps for Consumers & Professionals in 2010

From the ePharma Summit blog item

A lot has changed over the course of 2010 in the apps that HCP’s and Patients use to divulge health information. Many are continuing to get on the Mobile “Bandwagon” for the first time this year alone thanks to innovations in Smartphones and new portable tablets.

Here are 10 popular apps you should consider:

1. Medscape Medscape tops our list as the number one free medical app for medical professionals. The amount of free content provided by Medscape is absolutely mind boggling and seems to continuously grow with each update. 7,000+ drug references, 3,500+ disease clinical references, 2,500+ clinical images and procedure videos, robust drug interaction tool checker, CME activities, and more.

http://www.imedicalapps.com/2010/05/medscape-iphone-medical-app-review

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/medscape/id321367289?mt=8

2. Micromedex This might come as a surprise to many, but after you use this prescription medical reference app you’ll understand why it ranks so high. The overall user interface of the app is simple and quick. There is minimal clutter — another reason for such a high ranking. If you need to look up a dose or some quick reference information about a drug you can accomplish this with ease.

There are no prompts to register your e-mail address, no CME activities, no icon badges, no notifications, or any other distractions. The one knock on this app is it doesn’t have a robust drug interaction checker, something Medscape and Epocrates provide. On the flip side, for residents and medical students, the app does a better job than other drug reference apps when it comes to mechanism of action information and patient teaching information. Another plus is it’s available for the iPad — which is not true of Epocrates and Medscape.

The application is a production of Thomson Reuters, a legitimate name in Healthcare.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/micromedex-drug-information/id390211464?mt=8

3. New England Journal of Medicine The NEJM app is clearly a must have for all health care professionals. The caveat is that when this app was released the NEJM stated it would be free for a “limited time” in the iTunes description — that was more than 5 months ago and the app still remains free, allowing you to access fantastic NEJM content customized for the mobile format. The app allows you to access the last 7 days worth of published articles, along with images of various medical conditions and videos on how to perform procedures such as LPs and chest tubes.

http://www.imedicalapps.com/2010/06/new-england-journal-of-medicine-iphone-app-free-content/

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nejm-this-week/id373156254?mt=8

4. Epocrates There is no denying Epocrates is one of the best medical reference tools in the mobile format. The free version of Epocrates, Epocrates Rx, provides great content: Drug monographs and health plan formularies, drug interaction tool, pill identifier, medical Calculator, and a new addition: Medical News and handpicked clinical articles.

http://www.imedicalapps.com/2010/02/epocrates-app-review-iphone-medical-app-ipod-touc/

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/epocrates/id281935788?mt=8

5. MedCalc MedCalc once again makes it into our top free medical apps list. The creators of MedCalc have updated the app multiple times, making its user interface more robust and continuously adding medical formulas. It’s been downloaded more than a mind numbing 700,000 times, making it one of the most popular medical apps for the iPhone. The creators of the app are medical professionals and it was one of the first medical calculators to hit the iOS App Store with the introduction of the iPhone.

http://www.imedicalapps.com/2009/06/medcalc-v12/

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/medcalc-medical-calculator/id299470331?mt=8

6. WebMD Mobile This is a free app, which helps patients to diagnose their condition, using a symptom checker. You simply enter your symptoms and the app gives you a diagnosis. There is also a first aid section, which covers everything from minor cuts to heart attacks. The app also offers information about suitable treatments

http://www.webmd.com/mobile

7) iPregnancy This is a useful application for pregnant women; it has a range of pictures of the developing baby and contains a wealth of information about pregnancy. The app also has a tool to keep track of antenatal appointments.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ipregnancy-pregnancy-app/id295598816?mt=8

8) Blood pressure This app tracks blood pressure and can be used to keep a record of blood pressure over a set time period. The app can be utilized by multiple users and is easy to use. This app is ideal for those who have high blood pressure but can be beneficial for everyone, as there are often no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure.

http://www.apple.com/webapps/calculate/bloodpressure.html

9) Glucose Buddy

The Glucose Buddy app is a really useful tool for diabetics; it helps to keep track of blood sugar levels.

http://www.glucosebuddy.com/glucose_buddy_app

10) iPharmacy

iPharmacy enables you to look up medications and treatments and look for dosage instructions, side-effects and information about different drugs. The app also has information about drug interactions so you can find out about taking medications with other types of drug.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ipharmacy-the-drug-medication/id348702163?mt=8

Doctors are taking to iPhone, BlackBerry and smartphone apps. According to the 2009 MDsearch.com Smartphone Survey, 53% of physician respondents own a smartphone and 63% of those physicians are using mobile medical applications. Like it or not apps are here to stay. I truly think they will help 98% of the time both as a reference or a quick way to get updated information about any topic.

December 28, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , | 2 Comments

   

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